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 New Year Honours 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.
Ibby spends much of his free time trying to raise money for eleven 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 eighteen 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 award in the New Year’s honours list.
Reacting, 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.”
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’s 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.
“It’s for them.”
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.
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“It’s multi-layered. Whether it’s knife crime or serious drug abuse, we should be looking at planning ten or twenty 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.”
A mum who helped bring a swimming club back from the brink of closure has been recognised in the New Year’s Honours list.
Pamela Corry, 50, first became involved with Harpurhey Swimming Club 17 years ago when her two little girls became members.
Though part of the Harpurhey community for 100 years, the club was in decline when Pamela first started helping out.
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 to the club.
She has also been instrumental in educating children about fitness, health, social skills and respect through swimming.
She is awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to the community in Harpurhey.
Pamela, who works full-time 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.
While funding is always a challenge, Pamela says the club is desparate for more coaches and volunteers.
She added: “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.”
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