The British Citizen Youth Award, now in its eighth year, will be honouring 24 young people from across the UK who have made a positive impact on their communities and wider society.
These selfless young people have shown kindness and commitment to a multitude of causes, raising funds and awareness, and are all dedicated to making a difference.
Each inspirational young person will be presented with the BCyA Medal of Honour at The Palace of Westminster next Thursday, 12 October 2023, and are invited to use the post-nominals ‘BCyA’ as a legacy of their achievements and endeavours.
Aleesha Gadhia, aged eight, from West Bridgford in Nottinghamshire, is one of the 2023 BCyA Roll of Honour recipients.
Aleesha is a climate activist and a mini-ambassador for Cool Earth, a UK-based international NGO that funds indigenous communities to protect endangered rainforests to combat the climate crisis.
Aleesha has raised more than £3,000 for the charity by scootering 80km across Nottingham.
Since the age of six, she has been dedicated to climate change, including planting trees with her local MP around the community, and taking part in local litter picks with the mayor of Rushcliffe, to clean up the area and inspire fellow residents to care about their environment.
Aleesha has a social media presence on her page, Princess Climate Change, actively encouraging other children to get involved with caring for, and maintaining, their local areas, protecting wildlife, and reducing their carbon footprint.
As a climate activist, Aleesha wrote to hundreds of organisations about climate change, urging them to take action and explaining that they are in a position to help. Aleesha received praise for her dedication to the cause from a prime minister, Sir David Attenborough and the late Queen Elizabeth II. Using not only her voice but actions to make a difference, Aleesha is determined to continue to be part of the solution to climate change.
The BCyA Medal of Honour bears the words ‘For the Good of the Country’ and is presented to only a small number of exceptional young individuals annually. The British Citizen Youth Award in partnership with Specsavers, is widely viewed as the nation’s way of recognising extraordinary, everyday young people for exceptional endeavour and is truly representative of today’s multicultural Britain.
In addition to the 24 individual medallists, one group of young people is honoured with The Dame Mary Perkins British Citizen Group Award. This unique accolade is only open to groups of young people aged under 18. Only one group is selected each year to receive this honour and will be presented with an official presentation plaque, medal and Certificate of Honour.
“We are delighted to be able to recognise these amazing individuals with a BCyA. It is both heartening and uplifting to know that so many young people are consciously contributing to causes such as the environment, climate change activism, ecology, and creating awareness and fundraising for hospitals and charities. The youth of today are truly the leaders of tomorrow and we are humbled that Dame Mary, who is also founder of Specsavers, has put her name to the prestigious group accolade enabling the BCyA to broaden its recognition of young people in society,” stated Mike Faulkner, director of the BCyA.