About CYA

The Colchester Youth Awards were created in 2005 to celebrate the achievements of young people between the ages of 11 to 25 who live, work, volunteer or study in the Borough of Colchester. The concept of the awards came from a conversation between Dave Petrie, who worked for the Essex County Council Youth Service, and Matthew Young, who worked for Colchester Borough Council. They were able to recruit some other people who shared their vision to celebrate young people’s achievements, and as a result of their efforts the first ceremony was held in the Town Hall in November 2005.

Over 15 years that the Colchester Youth Awards has now been running, it has developed into a prestigious annual event in Colchester’s calendar. Since being formed in 2005, 1,000’s of  young people have been nominated for awards, with 100’s of trophies being handed to the winners, although it’s not just about the winner on the evening, but every young person who has been nominated. The Patron of the Awards each year is the Mayor of Colchester for that year.

In this age of instantaneous communications it is usually the less favourable events that make the headlines and so many of the exceptional achievements of young people go unnoticed. Hopefully, the awards have played a part in addressing this issue and Colchester is better able to recognise the good things that young people do.

2019 Awards – This year’s ceremony was held on 9th July 2019

The CYA were split into 11 categories:

  • The Volunteer Award – sponsored by Peabody
  • The Volunteer Fundraising Award – sponsored by Informa
  • The Entrepreneur Award – sponsored by Cloudfm
  • The Outstanding Achievement Award – sponsored by Colchester Borough Council
  • The Arts Award – sponsored by Essex County Council
  • The Citizen Award – sponsored by Colchester Borough Homes
  • The Learning Achievement Award – sponsored by Boydens
  • The Personal Journey – Academic Success Award – sponsored by Colchester Institute
  • The Personal Journey – Exceptional Circumstances Award – sponsored by Colchester Institute
  • The Diamond Writing Award – NEW Award – sponsored by Colchester & District Soroptimists
  • The Chair’s Award – sponsored by Green Square and Fisher Jones Greenwood

Young people can be nominated in any of the categories (apart from The Chair’s Award) and, at each year’s judging event, panels made up of the Sponsors and Committee members choose three highly commended nominations to be shortlisted and attend the award ceremony.

This year we had a special award – The Diamond Writing Award, which was sponsored by the Colchester & District Soroptimists in order to inspire young people between the age of 11 and 25 to think about the empowerment of women and girls in the form of a creative writing piece.  This could be a poem, a prose, a fictional piece or an essay and self-nomination for this award was actively encouraged. The Soroptimist International Colchester group is celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2019/20 and this has been the motivation for them to sponsor this special award. Soroptimists aim to educate, empower and enable women and girls throughout the world and they feel this award is a way for young people to get involved in such worthwhile aims and show how creative they can be.

Our Sponsors

Our Sponsors each year play an essential role in the running of the awards, as it is their generous contributions that enable the Committee to put on a spectacular ceremony each year. A number of organisations from both the private, public and voluntary sectors have sponsored the Awards over the years and there are some Sponsors that have been with the Awards since they started.

Sponsorship of an award category is £1,000 with a variety of other Sponsorship opportunities available.  For instance Sponsorship of the programme ranges from £100 to £500 depending on the level of involvement and there are many aspects of the presentation ceremony that can be supported such as the shortlisted nominee films or the audio-visual support.

If you would like to get involved please contact Jennifer Austin, our Sponsor Liaison – [email protected]

Committee Members

We are always looking for more committee members to assist us, please contact Matthew Young – [email protected] if you are interested in joining our team.

Colchester Youth Awards – “Our Youth, Their Future”

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