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BT Seen and Heard Award winners

Young people and adults from Soham in Cambridgeshire and Essex have been recognised for their inspirational projects and achievements at the BT Seen and Heard Awards held at the Houses of Parliament.




The Speak Out Loud team from Barleyfields estate, Cambridgeshire, petitioned their local housing authority to improve local playgrounds, roads and clean up litter in order to make their community a better place to be for everyone who lives there. Sally Davies, Head teacher at Thriftwood Special Needs School in Galleywood, Essex, has helped develop her pupils’ speaking and listening skills by forging close links with schools in Rwanda. Correspondence between the schools has now taught Thriftwood’s pupils the importance of communication via letters and a greater understanding of global issues.

The Seen and Heard Awards, organised jointly by BT and the UK Youth Parliament (UKYP), are held each year to celebrate those individuals who use speaking and listening skills to improve their own lives and those of people around them by breaking down communication barriers to deliver positive change, not only with their parents but within the wider community.

The winners came together at the House of Parliament to be recognised for their work and to take part in a panel discussion questioning MPs on the issues that matter to them and their communities.

UKYP’s Chief Executive Andy Hamflett said: "The Seen and Heard Awards celebrate young people across the UK and worldwide who have been identified as inspirational role models for effecting change on issues that matter to them. I would like to congratulate all of the applicants, shortlisted candidates and winners, and as ever thank BT for continuing to support such an inspirational scheme."

New research released today to accompany the awards reveals that, despite what many adults might think, young people are still more likely to be influenced by their parents than friends. The survey, conducted for BT, showed that 54% of young people in the East of England said they would go to Mum and Dad for help or advice before anyone else.

In contrast, 57% of ABC1 adults from the East of England studied believed their children would rather listen to friends. These findings suggest a lack of communication in families may well be caused by assumptions on the part of parents about how their children feel rather than any real change in their relationship.

The BT commissioned survey also found that while adults in the East of England believe young people would rather talk online than talk to an adult (49%), only 2% of young people in the East of England agree. At a time when young people’s ‘internet dependence’ is a hot topic, these results offer reassurance to parents that their children would rather confide in someone close to them than seek out online help.

BT Chairman Sir Mike Rake said: "At a time when young people’s personal freedom is at an all time high and there are constant concerns expressed in media over dwindling parental influence, it’s good news children still want to turn to their parents for guidance and support. Communication between adults and young people is incredibly important. BT is committed to developing the basic communication skills, such as speaking and listening, of the UK’s young people."


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