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."

people And here is why...
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
voicesBy the man who has
Arsene Wenger tried to sign Eden Hazard
footballAfter 18 years with Arsenal, here are 18 things he has still never done as the Gunners' manager
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson star in The Twilight Saga but will not be starring in the new Facebook mini-movies
tvKristen Stewart and Stephenie Meyer will choose female directrs
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
books(and not a Buzzfeed article in sight)
William Hague
people... when he called Hague the county's greatest
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
Arts and Entertainment
Twerking girls: Miley Cyrus's video for 'Wrecking Ball'
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Sheeran performs at his Amazon Front Row event on Tuesday 30 September
musicHe spotted PM at private gig
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

General Cover Teacher

£120 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Are you looking for part time/ ...

SEN (SLD/PMLD) Teacher

£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you a quailed Teacher ...

General Cover Teacher

£120 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Currently looking for teachers ...

SEN Teaching Assistant Runcorn

£50 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teaching Assistant EBD , Septemb...

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?