Britain honours its teen heroes

New awards celebrates the achievements of the UK's young people

Britain's teenagers are to get a boost from a government plan to end misconceptions of young people as knife-wielding hoodies interested only in underage sex and drinking.

"There's a real cross-government offensive. We're trying to come together to get a positive message about teenagers out there," said Tim Loughton, the children's minister. "The last government was unintentionally complicit in giving a damaging impression of youth culture."

The Government is tapping into a growing sense that the way the nation views its young people needs to change. Next Sunday in London the first BBC Radio 1 Teen Awards will be held, to celebrate the achievements of British teenagers who make a difference to their communities, have overcome difficulties in an inspirational way, or display entrepreneurial talent. The winners will be presented with glass statues on stage at the Hammersmith Apollo, alongside music stars including Katy Perry and JLS, who are also up for awards. The show will be broadcast on Radio 1, and a recording will be shown on BBC3 later this month.

In the past 10 years, the rate of under-18s getting pregnant has fallen by 13.3 per cent; youth reoffending rates fell last year; and a recent study has found that in 2009 the number of teenage killings dropped by 30 per cent.

The latest figures from Volunteering England show that young people are also keen volunteers. Forty-one per cent of 16- to 25-year-olds took part in formal volunteering last year, which compares favourably with the national average of 40 per cent.

Here, The Independent on Sunday looks at some of the teenagers whose efforts for others have earned them a place on the Teen Awards shortlist.

Josh Worley, 14, Norfolk

Teen Community Hero Award nominee

The schoolboy founded his own radio station after raising nearly £50,000. The station is run by young people and helps teens – particularly the unemployed and those in care – to gain experience working in radio. "If teenagers aren't seen as hoodies attacking people, they are perfect teens in magazines. Young people who want to make a difference in their communities are forgotten because it is seen as boring."

Rhys Morgan, 15, Cardiff

Teen Hero Award nominee

After being diagnosed with Crohn's disease a few months ago, Rhys discovered that a "drug" called Miracle Mineral Solution with dangerous side effects was being offered to sufferers. His blog on the subject prompted an FSA investigation and warning over the substance.

"My primary concern was stopping vulnerable people being exposed to this. Some types of quackery don't hurt people, but this does. I really want to be a doctor. I'm so interested in medicine."

Lauren Gander, 12, Sussex

Teen Community Hero Award nominee

Proving wrong the doctors who said she would never walk, spina bifida sufferer Lauren is a tireless fundraiser, completing runs, walks and night treks for charity.

"Now that I can walk, I thought, 'I'm not going to sit on my bottom and not do anything!' My ambition is to be a dancer, but if not I'd like to be a physiotherapist or an occupational therapist in the future. I like to help people."

Sarah Phillips, 17, London

Teen Hero Award nominee

On the night her mother died of cervical cancer, Sarah recorded a video of herself singing Paolo Nutini's "Autumn" and uploaded it on to YouTube. It had 418,000 hits and helped to raise donations of more than £430,000 for research into cervical cancer.

"I probably grew up a year in the month in which my mum had a brain haemorrhage. It does make you more mature. Trivial things don't really bother you as much, and you focus on what's important."

Fidel Frimpong, 17, Kent

Teen Entrepreneur Award Nominee

Fidel attracted a following on the social networking site Bebo after posting inspirational Christian messages. He decided to capitalise on this and turned it into a profitable business selling Christian-themed clothing, before expanding into non-religious slogans.

"I wanted to use hoodies in a good way rather than a bad way. The idea was to set up a clothing line that was cool and meaningful. I watch things like The Apprentice and they inspire me."

Callum Fairhurst, 13, Soham, Cambridgeshire

Teen Hero Award nominee

After his elder brother died of cancer, Callum used Twitter to arrange a 1,000-mile cycle ride, which raised £11,500 for the charity Clic Sargent. "Not many people see the good side of what teenagers do, and I've seen so many young people doing amazing things. At first I wanted to raise money for Clic Sargent, but now I raise money for Help for Heroes too, as they do great things."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Living for the moment: Julianne Moore playing Alzheimer’s sufferer Alice
health
Voices
A propaganda video shows Isis forces near Tikrit
voicesAdam Walker: The Koran has violent passages, but it also has others that explicitly tells us how to interpret them
News
people
Life and Style
love + sex
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
News
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
people
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
Arts and Entertainment
Jeffrey Archer holds up a copy of 'Kane and Abel', a book he says was ripped-off by Bollywood
books
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Fay Weldon suggested authors should tailor their work for Kindle readers
books
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: General Processor

£7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A vacancy has arisen for a General Processor ...

Recruitment Genius: Outbound Sales Executive - B2B

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A great opportunity has arisen ...

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Associate

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time and Part time positio...

Ashdown Group: IT Manager - Salesforce / Reports / CRM - North London - NfP

£45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and reputable Not for Profit o...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers