On Tuesday 7 March we gathered at the Kenneth More Theatre in Ilford, which was full of young people and their leaders. The celebrity presenting the awards this year was Mark Richardson, silver medal winner in the Atlanta Olympic Games for the 400m relay. Christy Thevathasan, Darren Gorewal and Kiren Ashraf were Achievement Award winners.
Kiren was a volunteer on the London Social Justice project 2015 and she has continued to give service at the Refugee and Migrant Project, Manor Park throughout the year.
Christy and Darren have been ardent supporters of Ursuline Links since 2012 when they took part in the Wythenshawe Day Camp. Since then they have helped out at numerous Ursuline Links functions and continue to volunteer as adult chaperones for the London Social Justice projects. Darren even found himself, at very short notice, as an adult helper in New Orleans in 2016.
Sr. Catherine Kelly received the Leaders Award for her continued support of all the projects and her fund raising.
So who is Jack Petchey?
Sir Jack Petchey CBE is an East End entrepreneur. He is 91 years old and his is a real ‘rags to riches’ story.
He worked long and hard, overcoming adversity and going on to become a multi-millionaire through his various business ventures, which have spanned from motor car dealing and garages to property, travel and investment. He now uses his money to encourage young people to ‘go out to others’.
Since establishing the Jack Petchey Foundation in 1999, his businesses have given £100m to support youth projects. What he ‘gives’ is greater than money though; the same entrepreneurial skills that he brought to his business have led to some really innovative schemes for young people.
Sir Jack seeks to increase young people’s aspirations by rewarding their achievements and encouraging them to take pride in what they have done. He brings communities together to really celebrate and ensure that the young people have a moment of glory and that their parents, carers, teachers and youth workers are there to witness it.
He focuses on the positives rather than highlighting the negatives. Yes, young people face problems and challenges, but Sir Jack believes that if you focus on these you risk creating a negative spiral. Alternatively, if you reward success and help young people feel positive about themselves you can give them the confidence and aspiration to change, overcome adversity and live to their full potential.
Sir Jack wants to encourage young people to make a commitment and put the effort in, so his principle is 50/50: “You make the effort and I will support too!”
He can often be heard quoting the ancient Chinese proverb: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
We are most grateful for all the support we get from the foundation.