Your UK Parliament Award Winners
The Your UK Parliament Awards celebrate people across the UK who have taken action on the issues they care about.
Get inspired by the amazing work our winners have accomplished to connect their community with UK Parliament and democracy.
More about the winners!
Community Campaign of the Year
Celebrates an organisation that has campaigned for change in their community.
We Belong is an organisation led by young people who migrated to the UK. Launched in 2019, they work with and for other young migrants to ensure they are treated equally and fairly. Their campaign- Stronger Ties: British in all but paperwork- aimed to raise awareness on immigration issues, foster a relationship with MPs and provide support to the young migrant community.
Using lived experiences, We Belong have helped to raise awareness of the how the current immigration system affects young lives. They provide a platform for the voices of young migrants to be heard so they can become agents of change. We Belong do this by teaching young migrants how to effectively engage with UK Parliament. They have written to MPs, created an online petition asking for shorter, more affordable routes to settlement, and hosted online events including one with members of the Home Affairs Select Committee. Through their work We Belong have empowered their community to share their concerns and experiences with policy makers.
Speak Out has been an independent advocacy charity in Brighton and Hove since 1994. They make sure that people with learning disabilities can speak up and take action about the issues that matter to them.
Speak Out’s campaigns have helped more people understand issues faced by those with learning disabilities. Prior to the recent elections they held accessible Hustings events. Candidates from all political parties were invited and people with learning difficulties got an opportunity to speak to candidates one to one. Staff from Speak Out helped the audience ask questions and conveyed responses from candidates in a way the audience could understand. Speak Out colleagues have appeared on local TV, Meridian News and BBC South East Today. They have delivered training at the Labour Party conference, and worked with local politicians. This year they have also worked with the Health and Social Care Committee on the Mental Capacity Amendment Bill to bring changes to the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLs) standards.
As a result, the community recognises that people with learning disabilities want to be, and can be, involved in the democratic process and, most importantly, people with learning disabilities feel empowered.
Digital Campaign or Campaigner of the Year
Celebrates the work of those connecting people to democracy through digital engagement.
Due to increase in digital activities in 2021, we have two winners!
APLE Collective are a national network of individuals who have experienced poverty. In response to COVID-19 they launched a campaign around digital exclusion, highlighting the problem of digital disadvantage faced by people from low socio-economic backgrounds. They raised awareness through daily tweets, regular blogs and hosting webinars on digital exclusion. They joined #OperationWiFi in partnership with the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Good Things Foundation to further their campaign. In addition, they wrote to MPs and Metro Mayors to initiate discussions. As a result, APLE Collective were invited to speak at the APPG on Universal Credit and secured media engagement.
Harrow Mencap is an organisation campaigning for, and providing personalised services to, people with learning disabilities in Harrow. As there was only one learning disability nurse between five hospitals at North-West University Healthcare NHS trust (LNWH), Harrow Mencap started a campaign to recruit an additional nurse and highlight the national shortage of learning disability nurses.
They built support for their campaign by creating an online petition and encouraged councillors, MPs and other charities to share it on social media. At a local level, they spoke with their MP via Zoom who then tabled an Early Day Motion (EDM) in the House of Commons on the national shortage of learning disability nurses. They built support for the EDM through a discussion with the chair of the APPG on Disability, encouraged other self-advocacy groups to write to their MPs or the Minister for Health to support the EDM, and created content for MPs, Peers and councillors to share. As a result, LNWH gained another learning disability nurse and helped people with learning disabilities to get their voice heard on this issue.
Operation Black Vote (OBV) exists to ensure there is greater racial justice and equality throughout the UK. They seek to inspire BAME communities to engage with public institutions to address the persistent race inequalities that exist. Their work spans a number of areas including voter registration, lobbying politicians, mentoring schemes and political leadership programmes.
Prior to the recent general election, OBV released a multi-media campaign to encourage UK’s disenfranchised BAME communities to vote. It included quotes from politicians and some prominent artists and activists. They used this media campaign to inform the community, especially the young, that if they did not vote they will not get their voices heard and others will speak for them. This led to increased political awareness and activism in the community.
School of the Year
Recognises schools which have taken action on an issue they care about and engaged with the UK Parliament on it.
Leads East Academy runs a student parliament as part of its Student Leadership programme. Through the student voice survey, students vote on the issues they want to tackle, and this forms the agenda for the Student Parliament. The highlight this year was the campaign work of ‘Team Plastic’, a project by the Department of Business & Enterprise within the school’s Student Parliament.
By organising an assembly and a poster competition, students raised awareness in a local primary school. They encouraged the local McDonalds to sponsor a litter pick up in the community, and in partnership with a local retailer set up a sustainable pop-up shop in their school. The project received recognition from the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust and the Peter Jones Foundation for their zero-waste business idea. The students have made significant impacts on the school and local community, particularly in trying to reduce single-use plastics.
The students of Torquay Girls’ Grammar School are passionate about climate change issues. At a school level they have initiated many changes; they started a vegetable garden, got single use plastic banned in the canteen and introduced meat-free Mondays.
As under 18 year olds are unable to vote, they created a forum to influence policy makers instead. They started an e-petition ‘Consult With Focus Groups Of Young People When Creating Climate Change Policy’ to ensure young people had a say on decisions about climate change, and created a video to promote it.
Using their lunchtimes to spread the word, they were able to engage MPs, Peers, Councillors, other schools and community groups in their cause. Anne-Marie Morris MP raised their issue in a debate in UK Parliament and they even received a letter of support from Sir David Attenborough! They are now lobbying leaders to facilitate a Student Climate Conference in the future.
Teacher of the Year
Recognises teachers or educational leaders who have taught their students and colleagues about the UK Parliament in innovative, inspiring and engaging ways.
Siobhan McQuaid is the headteacher at Holy Family Primary School in Belfast. She has a strong belief in participatory democracy and has integrated this into the school’s culture and ethos. Siobhan’s primary school children are taught democratic principles, anti-oppressive practices, and are engaged in processes which encourage some of the hardest to reach students to participate in school decision making. In addition, Siobhan works tirelessly to combat sectarianism in Northern Irish communities by teaching her school community how to engage in conflict resolution, reconciliation and reparation.
Siobhan recently established a relationship with an educational charity ‘Right to Succeed’ to help children who are at risk of exclusion remain in a mainstream school environment, and created a nurture unit where children in need of developmental support can be assisted. Part of this is reaching out to parents identified as ‘in crisis’ to help them keep their children within the family setting and undertake employment or training.
Vicky Brown is a teacher in Redhill Preparatory School and a UK Parliament Teacher Ambassador. She is keen to prove to children that their opinion matters. She wants them to understand the democratic process and feel empowered to speak up against injustice and fight for what they believe in.
Vicky actively engaged students in a campaign to protect service animals, known as Finn’s Law. Their work was recognised by their MP Stephen Crabb, the Welsh Parliament and Lord German OBE in the House of Lords. When Finn’s Law was passed, they were presented with a copy of the Bill and won an award from the PDSA for their work.
Vicky is keen to dispel the stigma surrounding politics. To achieve this, she delivered training on UK Parliament to staff and a Ted Talk on teaching politics to young children. For children ages 4-11, Vicky created ‘Parliament Month’ in school to explore politics in an age appropriate way.
Through her work the children in the school are passionate about politics and believe that their voice can be heard at the highest level.
UKPW Activity of the year
Recognises the work of those who made an outstanding contribution to UK Parliament Week.
UK Telugu Hindu Organisation (UTHO) is an organisation for the Telugu community in the UK. 2020 was the first time they engaged with UK Parliament Week (UKPW). UTHO planned two weeks of activities and projects for all age groups, where participants learnt about the UK Parliament. They engaged with local councillors and MPs in virtual events to understand the differences between those roles. They organised online debates and voted on the issue afterwards. Through their UKPW activities, the Telugu community have learnt more about democratic processes and people power in the UK, they are now planning to write a petition to introduce Telugu as a GCSE language in the UK.
Kelford Special School is an all age school (age 2 to 19) for those with severe and complex needs. The school is passionate about providing the best quality of education and care for all their pupils.
The aim of their UK Parliament Week plan was to engage the whole school in activities promoting democracy and the work of UK Parliament. Teachers were trained to deliver parliamentary and democratic learning through planning cross-curricular activities. Activities included counting votes in maths, writing manifestos in literacy, and learning about the Gunpowder Plot and Suffragette movement in history.
To develop the students’ understanding of how they could have their voice heard, activities each day in that week was chosen through petitions and votes. They also restructured the existing school council to a ‘Pupil Parliament’ to mirror the UK Parliament; elected students were MPs representing class constituents and students with previous school council experience were made Lords.
Teachers promoted learning in very personalised ways to ensure all the children could participate. This made the students feel empowered.
Volunteer of the year
Celebrates the amazing work of people who volunteered their time to get others involved with democracy and the UK Parliament.
Payzee Malika is passionate about women’s rights. She is an active member of the campaigns team for the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation. She is keen to break the silence on the issues of child marriage, female genital mutilation and so called ‘honour’ killings that women around the world face every day. Being a victim of child marriage herself, she now volunteers her time to raise awareness on these issues. As part of her campaign to criminalise child marriage in the UK, Payzee co-chaired the Girls not Brides event in UK Parliament in January 2020 and has lobbied MPs to back the Minimum Age Bill.
Special Needs Jungle is a non-profit organisation. Co-directors Tania and Renata, along with a team of volunteers, are dedicated to providing resources and information on navigating the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) system. Due to their work families have information about how to get the help required by children with special needs, and professionals are better informed about what they can do to help.
Special Needs Jungle are keen to reach as many people as possible. They have developed a large and active online community on social media of parents and professionals. They have amplified their influence by getting two other parent led campaign groups to join forces with them and forming a SEND Community Alliance. Before the general election this year, they educated families about what each party manifesto promised for the SEND community to help people make informed decisions when voting. A member of the team also gave evidence to a SEND inquiry hearing in UK Parliament.
As an organisation, Special Needs Jungle are highlighting the problems of the SEND system and finding ways to fix it.
Campaign or Activity of the Year (in the Welsh language)
Recognises the work of those whose campaign for change was in the Welsh language.
Bangor University Students’ Union (SU) is the voice of the students at Bangor. Their mission is to enrich and enhance the experience of the students.
When the general election was announced, the SU planned to engage with students through newsletters and social media platforms. The message was to register to vote and ensure voter turnout. First, they set up an online poll to find out which issues were important to the students. They passed the results to the local MP candidates and asked them for a response to the topics to collate into an online leaflet. The SU also hosted a General Election Question Time debate which was live streamed on social media. On election day they employed students to go out and encourage others to vote.
This campaign successfully engaged students and empowered them to register and vote.