Two 14-year-olds from Leicester’s Young People’s Council have been nominated for Lord Lieutenants’ Awards.
Dev Sharma, from Rushey Mead, and Claudia Osborne, from Knighton, have been nominated for the Young Volunteer of the Year and Young Braveheart of the Year awards.
Dev, who is up for the Young Volunteer award, is chairman of Leicester’s Young People’s Council (YPC), which works with council staff and politicians to inform decision-making.
He is also co-chair of the YPC’s mental health select committee, food ambassador to the UK Parliament and an active member of the police’s Community Gold Panel. He made major contributions to the city’s #LivesNotKnives campaign and to the Reclaim Radical project, which focused on tackling radicalisation.
Dev, who was put forward by his parents, said: “It feels great to be selected as a finalist. I have never been nominated for anything so big before, so this is super exciting!
“It is such an honour to be nominated alongside such talented young people. It gives me reassurance and a motivational boost that my passion to make a difference and help other young people is being recognised.”
The teenager has been politically active since the age of 12, advising in various committees, panels and meetings and representing other young people.
Claudia has been nominated by city council youth worker Raakhee Varia in the Young Braveheart category, which recognises people who have overcome personal barriers to achieve success.
“I learned that Claudia has had a stammer since she was little,” Raakhee said. “Speech therapy hadn’t had any impact, but Claudia was determined to find a way to overcome her stammer. Early in 2018, Claudia saw a programme on TV called the School for Stammerers, which featured participants in the McGuire programme – a speech therapy course designed and delivered for stammerers by stammerers. Claudia successfully completed this course and is now a mentor to other young people.
“Through her work in the Young People’s Council, Claudia has gained confidence and challenged herself to speak out in front of hundreds of young people and adults. She has engaged in debates and spoken confidently on issues that are important to her – she has never used her stammer as a reason not to take part. I am really proud of how far Claudia has come, she is an inspiration to other young people and she will do extremely well in whatever she chooses to do in her life.”
Claudia added: “I’m still in shock to be nominated! I cried when my mum told me I was a finalist. It’s out of this world!”
The Lord-Lieutenant’s awards for young people focus on four themes: Young Braveheart of the Year, Young Volunteer of the Year, Sportsperson of the Year and the Joe Humphries Memorial Trust award for Young Artist of the Year. One of the winners is then appointed as overall Lord-Lieutenant’s Young Person of the Year.
The awards evening and dinner takes place on Thursday 2 May and is hosted by the Lord-Lieutenant, Mr Mike Kapur OBE.
Category winners will be announced at the awards ceremony – with each winner receiving a prize to the value of £500. Runners-up will receive prizes to the value of £100.
The overall Lord-Lieutenant’s Young Person of the Year will be chosen from the category winners and will be presented with a special trophy.