Queen’s Young Leaders awardees and grantees gather in London to celebrate the achievements of the programme

Queen’s Young Leaders awardees and grantees gather in London to celebrate the achievements of the programme

To mark the completion of the Queen's Young Leaders Programme, Award winners and grantee beneficiaries gathered at Guildhall in London to share their experiences of the programme at a special event hosted by the City of London Corporation to demonstrate how young people have the ideas, energy and talent to make a positive difference in their communities.

As part of the event, which marked the completion of the Queen’s Young Leaders Programme,  BBC broadcaster and presenter Tina Daheley hosted a panel discussion to explore the challenges young people face and how their solutions are shaping a better future. Joining Tina on the panel was award-winning social entrepreneur Natalie Campbell, 2018 Queen’s Young Leader Award winner Elizabeth Kasujja and grantee beneficiary Nisani Gnanasoorian.

The Trust created the Queen’s Young Leaders Programme as a four-year initiative to champion and connect young people who are addressing in new and imaginative ways the urgent challenges facing the Commonwealth. Awards were presented to inspiring young people taking the lead in their communities and grants were given to youth-led and youth-focused organisations.

One of the key themes discussed at the event was around mental health and how young people are increasingly experiencing growing feelings of low self-worth and anxiety. During the panel discussion, Elizabeth, who co-founded Clear Yo Mind, an online platform that supports people experiencing mental health challenges in Uganda said: “So many young people deal with mental health issues but because it is so stigmatised, they don’t know where to go for help … it’s important that we learn to take care of our own mental health.”

Another discussion point during the panel focused on unemployment and the barriers that young people face because they don’t have access to the right training or education. The Queen’s Young Leader’s Grants Programme has supported youth leadership development organisation, Uprising, who help young people into employment through their Fastlaners programme. Nisani, a Fastlaners allumi, when speaking on the panel said: “For me, Uprising was a massive step forward. I felt that I had all the skills I needed to be able to get a job but I didn’t know how to present them. Uprising really helped.”

Following the panel discussion, guests were invited to look around an exhibition of short films from grantees and beneficiaries who had benefitted from the Queen’s Young Leaders Grants Programme. Using a participatory approach, beneficiaries of the programme created their own videos to document their stories of change and how their lives had been transformed as a result of the Queen’s Young Leaders initiative.

Now complete, the network of Queen’s Young Leaders Award winners and grantees forms a unique, dedicated and powerful of young people from across 53 Commonwealth countries who will connect, collaborate and change lives together for years to come, leaving a lasting legacy in honour of The Queen.