Home Children and Young People Young people in Knowsley recognised by National Diversity Awards
Photograph of two young people smiling

Young people in Knowsley recognised by National Diversity Awards

by Alison Cornmell

Two members of Knowsley’s Youth Cabinet have been nominated for a prestigious National Diversity Award, which celebrates the achievements and dedication of communities.

Abi Kirkby, aged 17, has been nominated in the Positive Role Model category, for her outstanding contribution to social action across the borough. While Dean Leake, age 18, has been nominated in the Positive Role Model (LGBT+) category for his commitment to championing young people across Knowsley and the wider Liverpool City Region.

Knowsley Council is encouraging residents to show their support for these young people by voting for them to win. You can do this by visiting the National Diversity Award website here.

Vibe, who offer support for Knowsley’s young people, has also been nominated for the Community Organisation (LGBT) Award for the Be Yourself initiative. The Be Yourself group is a safe space for young people aged 11-19 in Knowsley who identify as being part of the LGBTQIA+ community. In addition, Vibe staff member, Lauren Burke, has been nominated in the Positive Role Model Category, for her contribution to youth work across Knowsley.

A Knowsley Council spokesperson said:

“It’s fantastic to see young people from Knowsley being celebrated and recognised for their dedication to our communities. They are a credit to the borough and I hope our residents will join us in voting for them and demonstrating the pride we have for them.”

More information about the awards can be found here, nominations close on 4 June 2021 and the winners will be announced on Friday 4 February 2022.

More about Abi Kirkby
Around her A-level commitments, Abi is a Knowsley Young Advisor, represents youth voice on the Children’s and Families Board, is the current Vice-Chair at Knowsley Youth Cabinet, a POSH (Pioneer for Sustainable Hope) ambassador and has set up and is the founder of her schools Eco Committee, championing sustainability and planet-friendly initiatives. One of the other schemes Abi developed was to tackle fast fashion, she set up a swap shop in school where people could donate their old uniforms, P.E kits or other clothing and students could rent them for a small cost to cover the price of washing, not only was this helpful to the environment but also offered students an alternative option if they struggled to afford new uniforms.

As a POSH ambassador Abi has completed a beach clean, got young people and decision-makers involved in making pledges to help the environment, distributed reusable straws to reduce plastic waste, featured in a climate change video that was shown to local councillors to encourage them to put steps in place to make Knowsley greener, developed and delivered sessions to young people and families around recycling and made seed bombs with them to spread in the local community.

More about Dean Leake
Dean is on the autistic spectrum and identifies as part of the LGBTQIA+ community, understanding how it can feel to be marginalised with a lack of representation. He uses a range of platforms to raise awareness on important issues such as politics, racism, hate crime and LGBT+ rights through writing, radio and vlogging. As a guest on BBC Radio 5 Question Time, Dean has represented the voice of young people and brought to attention the feelings of LGBTQIA+ young people, how they are coping during the pandemic, and the negative repercussions of exams being cancelled affect young people in our region.

Dean is also known on the airways locally, as part of two local radio shows that he planned and hosted, one was a Politics and current affairs show where he recapped stories from the week, delved into politics and covered different topics of interest. The other show was ‘Out There’ which had an LGBT focus. These shows discussed difficult topics at a level that was understandable and relatable to other young people in Knowsley, educating them on things outside of the current school curriculum.