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CELEBRATING THE END OF ANOTHER AMAZING YEAR

This year we celebrated a number of amazing achievements. The Diana Award CEO, Tessy Ojo, shares her end of year message.

18 December 2018

2019 will mark 20 years of The Diana Award. That is 20 years of celebrating the achievements of young people who are transforming their communities, and in turn, the world. Since then, we’ve started our world-famous Anti-Bullying Programme, training thousands of young people to stand up to bullying and create a community of kindness in its place. We have also guided countless young people who need a positive role model in their lives through our Mentoring Programme, giving them the skills to help them excel in the future.

I am delighted to be able to celebrate our 20th anniversary with you next year. But, in the meantime, we are reflecting on what’s been a busy and exciting 2018 at The Diana Award.

This year we celebrated many of our new Diana Award Holders.

This year has been full of momentum as we continue to support and invest in young people to take positive action in their communities. Our namesake, the Award, expanded its reach as we increased the age to 25 and celebrated new Diana Award Holders across the UK and the world. At our ceremonies across the UK our Award Holders have been joined by a plethora of inspirational speakers, including Global Head of HeForShe Elizabeth Nyamayaro. We even had the honour of receiving an award ourselves at the Children & Young People Now Awards for our youth volunteering and social action work!

This year we Holly Branson and Anti-Bullying Ambassadors campaign to change the definition of ‘bully’ in the dictionary.

Our anti-bullying work continues to go from strength to strength, with a key highlight of 2018 being our #IAMNOTWEAK campaign. Thanks to your support, we successfully changed the definition of ‘bully’ in all major dictionaries. It is this kind of momentum that I am particularly proud of. It’s a reflection of the wide-ranging impact that our anti-bullying work is having, as we strive to change the attitude and culture surrounding bullying. We saw some new sparkle added to Anti-Bullying Week this year through a new partnership with hit West End show ‘Everybody’s Talking About Jamie’. In fact, it is thanks to all our dedicated partners, who are so passionate about improving the lives of young people, that we are where we are today.

Our new partnership with ‘Everybody’s Talking About Jamie’ added new sparkle to our anti-bullying work.

This summer we took our work with some of our corporate partners to new heights through the power of mentoring. Rebranding work experience for the next generation, we brought disengaged young people from across London into WeWork spaces and HSBC headquarters to train the workforce of the future, breaking down the barriers of social mobility.

Young people from Hackney Council connect with WeWork member businesses as a part of our ‘Insight Into’ Mentoring scheme.

Of course, I couldn’t let you go without giving you a sneak peek at our plans for next year – a year where we will celebrate the change of the past 20 years and most importantly continue to stand up to change, recognise change and guide change for young people across the UK and around the world.

We’ll be kicking off 2019 with one of our most exciting Diana Award campaigns to date, as we look to recognise a new wave of change through our Award Programme. I’m delighted to reveal that this will be followed by our bi-annual Legacy Award Ceremony in the autumn, which will see us celebrate 20 inspiring young change makers at a very special ceremony in London.

We’ll continue to stand up for change with 31,000 Anti-Bullying Ambassadors trained to date as our partnership with Facebook enters its second year. Meanwhile, the other strands of our anti-bullying work continue to grow, including the recruitment of two brand new Youth Boards for 2019. It’s safe to say that next year will be no less busy!

And for those young people who need to someone to guide them through change, our Mentoring Programme is here to help. We’ll be expanding our work even further across London, as well as continuing our projects in Leeds and Birmingham, as we look to give every young person the start in life that we all know they deserve.

Tessy with Award Holder Mia Thorne at The Diana Award Wales 2018 ceremony

Ultimately, I want to thank all of you – without whom none of these successes would have been possible. It’s thanks to your support that we’re able to reach so many young people. Whether you’re one of our corporate partners, have donated on our website, joined in with our campaigns or simply supported us on social media – I thank you. I hope you will be able to join us in our milestone year – it’s set to be the best one yet!

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Tessy Ojo
CEO of The Diana Award

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