Torbay Times Column – March 2015

We all want to make a difference and children are no exception. The Torbay Civic Award is a vehicle for 10-11 year old children to do just that! I started the award in 2005 with just 12 children and over the decade more than 1200 children have taken part and been presented with their Torbay Civic Award certificates. I am delighted to be able to share their triumphs and successes through this column.

Each year the number of schools participating has grown. Currently over 300 children from St Marychurch, Shiphay, Cockington, St Margarets, Sherwell Valley, Furzeham, Torre, Priory, Warberry, Homelands, Hayes, The Abbey School, Sacred Heart, and Collaton St Mary Primary schools are taking part.

To achieve the award pupils have to prove their participation in five main areas. These are:

• Active Citizenship in their school community
• Active Citizenship in their home communities
• A physical hobby and a non-physical hobby
• Residential experience and adventure training
• Supporting a cause or charity which they feel strongly about

The children must also pass a rigorous assessment when they have to present evidence of the above to an external assessor.

Some of the ways in which the children have participated in their school communities have included Peer Mediation, Play Leaders, School Councillors and Reading Buddies. Acts of Active Citizenship in their localities have included helping neighbours, sponsored and community events, litter-picking and beach cleans. The children have adopted a range of charities. Many were inspired to support these because of events in their own lives and have organised various sales, penalty shoot- outs, shows and other sponsored events to raise money and awareness.

“It has made me look at life differently. I am more aware of other people and how they think.” (Jennifer 11)
“It has made me a kinder person. I have faced challenges and I know I am more helpful now.” (Joshua 10)

“The Civic Award has taught me to be a stronger person with courage to do things that I wouldn’t normally do which will help me in later life.” (Sam 11)

“From the Civic Award I learned that I can do anything when I put my mind to it.” (Georgie 11)
In future editions I hope to give more details about individual schools taking part and follow some Civic Award graduates to see how the award has shaped their lives.

This article featured in The Torbay Times Community Newspaper