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21 October, 2008

Giving Nation TV Challenge Star Nominated for another award!

Third award nomination in a row for Giving Nation Challenge award winner! After setting up an anti-gang crime project, winning the Young People's Peace Award and meeting the Prime Minister fourteen year campaigner Latyah has been nominated for a prestigious ACES award.

Not many 14 year olds can say they have meet one world leader let alone two! Latyah Mcarthy who, in September 2007 received the Bertlesmann award from German Chancellor Angela Merkel on behalf of the Citizenship Foundation, definitely can.

The fourteen year old anti-gang crime activist met Prime Minister Gordon Brown at a ceremony hosted by Number 10 Downing Street in honour of the winners of the 2008 London Peace Awards in recognition of their commitment to promoting peace in the capital. Latyah was awarded the London Young Persons Peace Award for her groundbreaking campaign to provide alternatives to gun and knife crime for young people in her local community of White City, West London in September; an initiative she and friends set up whilst participating in the Giving Nation TV Challenge. After receiving the London Peace Award, Latyah was nominated for an ACES award.

The ACES awards celebrate and acknowledge the achievements of students of African and Caribbean heritage who have excelled in school or made a positive contribution to their local communities.In early 2007, aged just 12 , Latyah McCarthy set up a campaign to improve opportunities for young people as alternatives to gang crime in Hammersmith with the support of the Giving Nation Challenge.

With a grant of £250 from Giving Nation and a starring role in a Community Channel TV documentary, Latyah and friends from Phoenix High School, Hammersmith had to come up with a business idea that they could put into action in just six weeks that would benefit a local community cause. Shocked and concerned by the rising number of young people involved in gun and knife crime (and the negative reputation that young people often receive as a result), Latyah and friends decided to take up the challenge by organising Open Mic Entertainment nights showcasing the talents of local young people and providing an alternative to Hammersmith teens to getting involved in gang crime.

On meeting the Prime Minister and winning the Peace Award Latyah explained:

"For me the young person's award, meeting the Prime Minister and being nominated are all recognition for how serious we are as young people about living in peace and clear proof that you can take action and make a difference no matter how old you are."

She added: "We want to get young people off the streets, performing music and taking part in some thing positive instead of gang crime. We believe that young people need positive ways of expressing themselves, and getting involved with and supporting their community. The Open Mic night we organised provided that opportunity!"

Andy Thornton, Director of Participation and Social Action at the Citizenship Foundation commented:

"We are immensely proud to have been part of Latyah's journey from the Challenge to the ACES awards. From seeing her organising the inaugural Open Mic night to winning a London Peace Award and being nominated for the ACES award, we have witnessed her determination to promote peace and inspire confidence and respect for their community amongst other young people. The Giving Nation Challenge aims to unlock the potential of young people to take action to change their communities. Latyah is the perfect example of this".

The Giving Nation Challenge is part of a range of programmes run by Giving Nation that support young people to tap into the potential they have to make a difference through community, charity and campaigning action.

The project, based at the Citizenship Foundation stimulates young people's engagement in charity and community issues through social enterprise projects.

The Giving Nation Challenge and the 90 minute documentary following Latyah and two other youth-led social enterprise projects reveals, huge sums of money are not always needed to make a difference.


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