New Year Honours round-up

13-YEAR-OLD FUNDRAISER IS YOUNGEST PER­SON ON NEW YEAR’S LIST

Manchester Evening News - - FRONT PAGE - By AN­DREW BARDSLEY an­[email protected] @ABard­s­leyMEN

A SCHOOL­BOY who has raised thou­sands of pounds for char­ity de­spite his own health prob­lems is the youngest per­son to be recog­nised in the New Year Honours list.

Ibrahim Yousaf, 13, known as ‘Ibby,’ is the youngest per­son in the coun­try named in the list, and one of a num­ber of com­mu­nity he­roes across Greater Manch­ester to be hon­oured.

As well as Ibby, we tell the story of a for­mer coun­cil worker who set up a char­ity to help young peo­ple af­ter los­ing his job, and a mum who helped turn around a fail­ing swim­ming club.

IBRAHIM YOUSAF

Ibby spends much of his free time try­ing to raise money for 11 dif­fer­ent char­i­ties in his home town of Old­ham.

They in­clude Old­ham Food Aid, Dr Ker­shaw’s Hospice and Mag­gie’s cancer sup­port.

Ibby ral­lies fundrais­ing ef­forts via his Twit­ter ac­count @sugs75, find­ing spon­sors and or­gan­is­ing bake sales, and also do­nates all the money he gets given for his birth­day, pocket money or Eid.

His ef­forts are all the more re­mark­able be­cause Ibby suf­fers a se­ri­ous health con­di­tion and re­quires fre­quent vis­its to Royal Manch­ester Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal.

But rather than ac­cept a treat for him­self, Ibby wants others to get a help­ing hand first.

He started his Twit­ter ac­count last year and with the help of his par­ents now has more than 700 fol­low­ers.

“He didn’t cel­e­brate his 13th birth­day,” said his mum Sugs. “He didn’t want to - he said, rather than have a party or get presents, he wanted to do­nate ev­ery­thing to char­i­ties. “That’s the sort of young man he is.” In the past 18 months, Ibby has raised £600 for Royal Manch­ester Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal, £1,300 for Mag­gie’s and more than £2,000 for other lo­cal char­i­ties such as the Old­ham Mayor’s Char­ity.

Now Ibby has been recog­nised for his self­less­ness with a Bri­tish Em­pire Medal.

Ibby said: “I am in ab­so­lute shock and over­whelmed that I have been given this hon­our.

“I know there are far more peo­ple that are de­serv­ing of this hon­our more than me, es­pe­cially my char­i­ties who help so many peo­ple – they are the real stars.

“But I know this will mean so much to my char­i­ties and my amaz­ing home town of Old­ham. All I ask is for every­one to please sup­port and fol­low them.

“My char­i­ties are Royal Manch­ester Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal Char­ity, Mag­gie’s Old­ham, Old­ham Food­bank, Spoons Char­ity, Dr Ker­shaw’s Hospice, Mahdlo’s, Real Change Old­ham, Old­ham Street An­gels, Ac­tion Fund Old­ham, Uk­eff & Team Hill.”

NICK BUCKLEY

In 2011 when lo­cal au­thor­ity fund­ing cuts were start­ing to bite, Nick Buckley worked for Manch­ester coun­cil and was of­fered re­dun­dancy.

He de­cided to take a risk and ac­cept, us­ing the money to start his own char­ity The Man­cu­nian Way.

It fo­cuses on early in­ter­ven­tion with young peo­ple in the tough­est parts of Greater Manch­ester, steer­ing them away from crime and anti-so­cial be­hav­iour and to­wards pos­i­tive as­pi­ra­tions. Whether its de­liv­er­ing hard-hit­ting mes­sages about the re­al­i­ties of prison, or or­gan­is­ing work ex­pe­ri­ence and ex­cit­ing em­ploy­ers like the Hil­ton Ho­tel or Manch­ester Air­port, Nick’s char­ity has forged a ground-break­ing path.

Eight years later, The Man­cu­nian Way has 24 staff and has won a host of awards for its work.

Now Nick, 51, is be­ing recog­nised for his be­lief in giv­ing young peo­ple hope with an MBE in the New Year Honours list.

He told the M.E.N: “I’m over the moon. The recog­ni­tion is re­ally for the char­ity, for the work of the staff and the vol­un­teers, the home­less and the young peo­ple we work with.”

Nick says he be­lieves early in­ter­ven­tion work is cru­cial to change out­comes in the long term.

“Of­ten peo­ple are looking for a sil­ver bul­let to com­plex prob­lems,” he said.

“There’s never a sim­ple so­lu­tion. It’s multi-lay­ered. Whether it’s knife crime or se­ri­ous drug abuse, we should be looking at plan­ning ten or 20 years ahead.

“Be­cause of po­lit­i­cal cy­cles no one’s in­ter­ested, they want a quick fix.

“I think if we’re go­ing to change, we need a much longer-term ap­proach.

“We’ve al­lowed peo­ple to fail, to lower their as­pi­ra­tions and have no dreams.

“It’s about con­vinc­ing young peo­ple that this coun­try is full of op­por­tu­nity.

“They will say ‘no it’s not, it’s crap.’ Ac­tu­ally it’s not, it’s one of the rich­est coun­tries in the world, there’s loads of op­por­tu­ni­ties and we will never give up on you.”

PAMELA CORRY

Though part of the com­mu­nity for 100 years, Harpurhey Swim­ming Club was in de­cline when Pamela, 50, first started help­ing out 17 years ago.

The mum-of-two took on run­ning the club sin­gle-hand­edly, de­vot­ing all of her spare time to re­cruit­ing new mem­bers and vol­un­teers.

The club, now based at North City Fam­ily Fit­ness Cen­tre, still serves one of the most dis­ad­van­taged ar­eas of Manch­ester.

Pamela has been com­mit­ted to keep­ing ses­sion and mem­ber­ship fees to a min­i­mum to en­sure as many lo­cal kids as pos­si­ble have ac­cess.

She has also been in­stru­men­tal in ed­u­cat­ing chil­dren about fit­ness, health, so­cial skills and re­spect through swim­ming.

She is awarded the Bri­tish Em­pire Medal for ser­vices to the com­mu­nity in Harpurhey. Pamela, who works full­time as a civil ser­vant, said: “I’m very pas­sion­ate about giv­ing the kids the op­por­tu­nity to swim and train in Harpurhey.

“At the time I be­came in­volved there was not a lot for the chil­dren be­cause it’s quite a de­prived area.

“It’s about get­ting peo­ple in and giv­ing them that life-skill.”

The club doesn’t re­ceive any grant fund­ing and re­lies on vol­un­teers like Pamela to keep it go­ing.

Pamela, who is reg­is­tered dis­abled and pro­foundly deaf, or­gan­ises spon­sored swim­ming events as well can­vass­ing lo­cal busi­nesses for spon­sor­ship and do­na­tions.

She said: “This has all been a huge sur­prise but I have to say there is a big team of us who keep the club go­ing.

“We all do it for the kids in the area.”

Nick Buckley

Ibrahim Yousaf

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