Your UK Parliament Awards 2021 - winners
The Your UK Parliament Awards celebrate people across the UK who have taken action on the issues they care about.
2021 marks the fourth year of the Your UK Parliament Awards. The past year has been particularly difficult but despite the challenges, the judges were really impressed by the work people are doing to connect their community with the UK Parliament and democracy.
More about the winners
Community Campaign of the Year
Celebrates an organisation that has campaigned for change in their community.
We Belong is an organisation led by young people who migrated to the UK. Launched in 2019, they work with and for other young migrants to ensure they are treated equally and fairly. Their campaign- Stronger Ties: British in all but paperwork- aimed to raise awareness on immigration issues, foster a relationship with MPs and provide support to the young migrant community.
Using lived experiences, We Belong have helped to raise awareness of the how the current immigration system affects young lives. They provide a platform for the voices of young migrants to be heard so they can become agents of change. We Belong do this by teaching young migrants how to effectively engage with UK Parliament. They have written to MPs, created an online petition asking for shorter, more affordable routes to settlement, and hosted online events including one with members of the Home Affairs Select Committee. Through their work We Belong have empowered their community to share their concerns and experiences with policy makers.
Digital Campaign or Campaigner of the Year
Celebrates the work of those connecting people to democracy through digital engagement.
Due to all the digital activities last year, we have two winners!
APLE Collective are a national network of individuals who have experienced poverty. In response to COVID-19 they launched a campaign around digital exclusion, highlighting the problem of digital disadvantage faced by people from low socio-economic backgrounds. They raised awareness through daily tweets, regular blogs and hosting webinars on digital exclusion. They joined #OperationWiFi in partnership with the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Good Things Foundation to further their campaign. In addition, they wrote to MPs and Metro Mayors to initiate discussions. As a result, APLE Collective were invited to speak at the APPG on Universal Credit and secured media engagement.
Harrow Mencap is an organisation campaigning for, and providing personalised services to, people with learning disabilities in Harrow. As there was only one learning disability nurse between five hospitals at North-West University Healthcare NHS trust (LNWH), Harrow Mencap started a campaign to recruit an additional nurse and highlight the national shortage of learning disability nurses.
They built support for their campaign by creating an online petition and encouraged councillors, MPs and other charities to share it on social media. At a local level, they spoke with their MP via Zoom who then tabled an Early Day Motion (EDM) in the House of Commons on the national shortage of learning disability nurses. They built support for the EDM through a discussion with the chair of the APPG on Disability, encouraged other self-advocacy groups to write to their MPs or the Minister for Health to support the EDM, and created content for MPs, Peers and councillors to share. As a result, LNWH gained another learning disability nurse and helped people with learning disabilities to get their voice heard on this issue.
Petition Campaign of the Year
Recognises inspirational people who have used petitions started on petition.parliament.uk to build their campaigns for change, raising awareness of issues that might otherwise struggle to be heard in Parliament.
Nell Bevan, Esmie Jikiemi-Pearson, Yacoub Yasin and Cynthia Muthoni are joint winners in the first ever Petition Campaign of the Year Award category at the Your UK Parliament Awards.
Nell and Esmie started the petition ‘Teach Britain's colonial past as part of the UK's compulsory curriculum’ which received more than 268,000 signatures. They set up the Impact of Omission initiative, with information on campaigning and links to teaching resources. They also carried out a survey to hear about other students’ experiences which helped to raise awareness of the issue and their campaign.
Yacoub Yasin started the petition ‘Making the UK education curriculum more inclusive of BAME history’ which received more than 25,738 signatures.
Cynthia Muthoni started the petition ‘Add education on diversity and racism to all school curriculums’ which received more than 89,000 signatures.
Together their petitions triggered a joint inquiry by the Petition Committee and Women and Equalities Committees into Black history and cultural diversity in the curriculum.
School of the Year
Recognises schools which have taken action on an issue they care about and engaged with the UK Parliament on it.
Leads East Academy runs a student parliament as part of its Student Leadership programme. Through the student voice survey, students vote on the issues they want to tackle, and this forms the agenda for the Student Parliament. The highlight this year was the campaign work of ‘Team Plastic’, a project by the Department of Business & Enterprise within the school’s Student Parliament.
By organising an assembly and a poster competition, students raised awareness in a local primary school. They encouraged the local McDonalds to sponsor a litter pick up in the community, and in partnership with a local retailer set up a sustainable pop-up shop in their school. The project received recognition from the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust and the Peter Jones Foundation for their zero-waste business idea. The students have made significant impacts on the school and local community, particularly in trying to reduce single-use plastics.
Teacher of the Year
Recognises teachers or educational leaders who have taught their students and colleagues about the UK Parliament in innovative, inspiring and engaging ways.
Siobhan McQuaid is the headteacher at Holy Family Primary School in Belfast. She has a strong belief in participatory democracy and has integrated this into the school’s culture and ethos. Siobhan’s primary school children are taught democratic principles, anti-oppressive practices, and are engaged in processes which encourage some of the hardest to reach students to participate in school decision making. In addition, Siobhan works tirelessly to combat sectarianism in Northern Irish communities by teaching her school community how to engage in conflict resolution, reconciliation and reparation.
Siobhan recently established a relationship with an educational charity ‘Right to Succeed’ to help children who are at risk of exclusion remain in a mainstream school environment, and created a nurture unit where children in need of developmental support can be assisted. Part of this is reaching out to parents identified as ‘in crisis’ to help them keep their children within the family setting and undertake employment or training.
UKPW Activity of the year
Recognises the work of those who made an outstanding contribution to UK Parliament Week.
UK Telugu Hindu Organisation (UTHO) is an organisation for the Telugu community in the UK. 2020 was the first time they engaged with UK Parliament Week (UKPW). UTHO planned two weeks of activities and projects for all age groups, where participants learnt about the UK Parliament. They engaged with local councillors and MPs in virtual events to understand the differences between those roles. They organised online debates and voted on the issue afterwards. Through their UKPW activities, the Telugu community have learnt more about democratic processes and people power in the UK, they are now planning to write a petition to introduce Telugu as a GCSE language in the UK.
Volunteer of the year
Celebrates the amazing work of people who volunteered their time to get others involved with democracy and the UK Parliament.
Payzee Malika is passionate about women’s rights. She is an active member of the campaigns team for the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation. She is keen to break the silence on the issues of child marriage, female genital mutilation and so called 'honour' killings that women around the world face every day. Being a victim of child marriage herself, she now volunteers her time to raise awareness on these issues. As part of her campaign to criminalise child marriage in the UK, Payzee co-chaired the Girls not Brides event in UK Parliament in January 2020 and has lobbied MPs to back the Minimum Age Bill.