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Awards recognise our outstanding youngsters

Gale’s View by your MP Roger Gale

It started in the Pfizer lecture theatre 20 years ago. It was the brainchild of Kent County Council senior youth officer Bill Butler and area social services director Jan Askew who decided that instead of the stream of bad publicity directed at Kent’s young people it was time to recognise the achievements of those same young people in one of the most deprived areas of the county – east Kent. And so the TryAngle awards were born. It was a low-key, school lunch-break event at first, celebrated with some crisps and squash and a few members of the “chain gang” to dish out awards and certificates. I was among those roped in to make the presentations. After the first awards Jan Askew, Bill Butler and I got together to plan how to grow the idea. “Next year the Winter Gardens then the Albert Hall”, was the dream.

TryAngle has yet to go national and to reach the Albert Hall but the project has spread out to cover the whole of Kent with the Spirit of TryAngle event held in the autumn, bringing together the best of the best in a county final. The scheme is now a registered national charity with a board of trustees and still has aspirations to reach out nationwide. We have had great support from many organisations and businesses notably from Kent Police who have staunchly supported the bravery award, from the county’s newspapers and radio stations, from local philanthropic organisations and from the KCC. The awards recognise a number of areas of personal and group achievement relating to sport, the arts, the environment, community service and the like and each year it gets harder and more humbling to judge the submissions.

The triumph of young people over all manner of challenges and adversity is truly extraordinary and those of us who are involved in the foundation have been privileged to meet, over 20 years, some of the finest, bravest, most courageous, most talented, most determined and most outstanding of the young people of the county.

Herne Bay Gazette, June 26th 2014

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