Tower Hamlets is giving 400 young people £1500 towards their university fees.
The scheme was announced at the boroughs first annual Youth Award Ceremony on June 4.
Lutfur Rahman, The Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said that education is his top priority in the borough, and added: “From this September, every youngster who goes to university will get 1500 pounds from its local authority.”
He also said that the council wants its young people to “lead a constructed life and go on to further and higher education and get good jobs.”
Tower Hamlets is the only borough in the country which gives this kind of money to its young people.
A dozen of schools participated in the Youth Award Ceremony and over 300 people gathered to celebrate an oscar-like award night with entertainment, food and prizes.
Teachers and youth workers of the borough had nominated 140 people aged from 12 to 19, as well as some adults aged up to 25 with special educational needs.
A shortlist of 7 winners was made.
The winners were:
Community achievement award – Reshma Rahman
Sports award – Rakim Tatou
Physical achievement award – Numan Ali
Arts award – Mammoth Sound
Project of the Year award – Haileybury SEN group
Personal Achievement – Nimo Abdi Jama Samad Miah
Award for Outstanding Achievement award – Vivian Namagembe
The prizes were given out to the young people who had significantly helped, inspired, or given back to the community during the past year.
Namagembe, 25, who won the Outstanding Achievement Award, is deaf and have been an active member of Haileybury youth center for the last 10 years. During this time she has lead a number of projects, and been involved with lots of different initiatives across the council. She is currently undertaking a work placement with Tower Hamlets council.
Between the awards being given out at the Britannia International Hotel, young people stood for entertaining the crowd from the stage:
Act 1 – Song by Keilah Miller
Act 2 – Dance by Corey ‘lil saint’ Sumefon
Act 3 – Rap by STOMP OUT CAMP
Act 4 – House of Talent performing a piece called Nemesis
As well as participating in the event, a group of eight young people from the borough helped organising it, this group consisted of: Yasmin Khan, Kim Dinh, Munadiah Aftab, Sabrina Syeda-Ali, Nura Nur, Subana Kalim and Tabassum Noor.
Rahman said: “Today, we had an unified event, recognising and celebrating our youngsters, their achievements and their commitments.”
As well as 7 grand prizes, Duke of Edinburgh Awards were also given out in bronze, silver and gold.
Rakim Tatou, 12, from Oaklands School in Bethnal Green, won the Sports Award. He perviously won the title of ABA England under 34kg boxing champion, and trains every day, while still doing well at school. He said that it was “brilliant” to win the Youth Award.
The band Mammoth Sound won the Arts Award for their positive influence and work in the Arts in the borough.
Vocalists of the band, Kenny Paul Mukendi and Santárna Scott, 19, collected the prize. “I’ve loved helping out Tower Hamlets, it is the best borough,” said Scott.
Mukendi added: “The mountains of opportunities could not have been given in any other borough than Tower Hamlets. They have helped us so much.”
Mayor Rahman said: “We have invested 10 million in our youth services to give the right facilities, the right support and the right youth workers to our youngsters.”
Dinar Hossain, the Head of Youth and Connexions Services, said: “Integrated local youth service is no longer only about youth club.”
Hossain explained that it is about providing universal services for everyone, engaging people into constructive activities and providing services to help vulnerable young people.
Andy Bamber, the Service Head of Safer Communities, said: “When we look at the youth, the one thing that we must all appreciate is that they are our future. They will form the communities that we will live in, and their families will live in. We are actually investing in our future.”