Despite the pandemic, The British Citizen Youth Award continued to receive nominations from around the UK for young, inspirational members of the community who were making a difference. In a daunting and unprecedented year, these selfless young people continued to show kindness and a commitment to their community. On 26th October 2021, 23 extraordinary young people have been honoured with The British Citizen Youth Award for the 2021 Roll of Honour.

Hosting the event today was television presenter Anthea Turner who said; ‘This group of British Citizen Youth Award medalists represented community leadership, tech for good, climate campaigns and social conscience. Having met them all, it made me more confident of the future than I have felt for some time. These are amazing young people who deserve this recognition and I hope others aspire to be like them.’

Maya Chiva Shah, aged 10 from Middlesex, has been presented with the Medal of Honour at the Palace of Westminster, from Dame Mary Perkins, Founder of Specsavers. The British Citizen Youth Award in association with Specsavers is now in its fifth year and recognises exceptional under 18’s who have positively impacted their communities through the county.

When aged just 8, Maya developed the idea to raise money for her school’s charity, The British Asian Trust, using her passion for swimming. All the children at school were given a money box to fill with small change for the charity, but Maya had other ideas. Maya was so moved by the charity’s work that she decided she would try and raise as much as possible. Having been involved in charity and giving back from the age of 7 when Maya donated her hair to the Little Princess Trust, she had set a precedent for helping others and making a difference in the community.

Maya has been swimming since she was a baby and has designs on becoming a professional representing Team GB. Loaning the schools pool, Maya aimed to raise £800 swimming 800m. In fact, she achieved 850m in under half an hour, raising approximately £2000. Having seen how few opportunities other children have around the world, Maya wanted poverty-stricken and disadvantaged children and families to have the same opportunities as other children.

Maya believes that everybody matters and is a strong advocate for equality for all. Raising money for a charity so close to her heart has inspired Maya to continue fundraising and promoting the mental health benefits of swimming to all ages and abilities.

Dame Mary Perkins, Patron of the BCA said; ‘The British Citizen Youth Award recipients are very special individuals. These young people all go above and beyond for others with selfless acts of kindness and community spirit with no thought or expectation of praise or reward. These awards are a great opportunity to shine a light on what they do and give them the recognition they so thoroughly deserve. They are the nation’s true unsung heroes and the rising stars of the future.’

Each Medal of Honour bears the words ‘For the Good of the Country’ and are presented to only a small number of exceptional young individuals annually. The British Citizen Youth Award is widely viewed as the nation’s way of recognising extraordinary, everyday young people for exceptional endeavour and are truly representative of today’s multicultural Britain.
Nominations are now being accepted for the 2022 medal presentations, register online at www.britishcitizenyouthawards.co.uk.