Jake Glennon, 16, has received a British Citizen Youth Award for being a key ambassador for Makaton.
Jake is currently the youngest DJ in the UK and the first DJ to be recognised as Makaton Friendly due to his work promoting inclusion for those with learning disabilities. He also teaches other entertainers how to use the language to improve inclusion across the industry.
His family first noticed his kind and inclusive nature due to his dedication to caring for his cousin Alice, who has Down's syndrome. Jake always goes the extra mile to ensure she always feels a part of activities and initially learnt Makaton to help her.
Jake’s commitment to inclusion was highlighted to the Positive Choices (Learning Disability Nursing) Team and as a result he was also invited to demonstrate his skills to over 700 nurses from the UK and Ireland over a 2-day event in Dublin.
Jake’s aunt, Makaton Tutor Amanda Glennon, says: "Jake is a credit to our family and we are very proud of him. He does not realise how special he is, he feels he is just doing what is right and what we should all be doing to help those with learning difficulties to feel more confident and included. As well as the work he has done in his job as a DJ, at home he’s been fantastic with my daughter Alice, they are so close and he’s made a huge difference to her life. He’s a very inspiring young man."
Twenty three inspiring youngsters from across the UK were recognised at this year’s British Citizen Youth Award (BCyA) for their extraordinary contribution to society, charities and good causes. Now in its third year, the BCyA, in association with Specsavers, highlights individual acts of bravery, kindness and compassion from young people across the UK.
Jake received his BCyA medal from Ashley Banjo, creative director and lead dancer of Diversity, whose dance troupe won the third series of Britain’s Got Talent.
"This time last year I was invited to present the British Citizen Youth Award for the first time. I was amazed by the endeavours of all the young medallists who came from all corners of the UK. The inclusivity of the Award is stunning and the medallists really are representative of all that is good about Britain’s younger population.
"I am honoured to be able to play a part in the British Citizen Youth Awards. These inspirational young people are making a difference and encouraging other young people to do the same."
Steve Bryan, store director of Specsavers Liverpool Lord Strret says: "As a partner of the British Citizen Youth Awards, it is always uplifting to hear about the amazing things that local young people are doing both within our community and across the UK. Whether it be raising money for charity or helping those in need, we want to grow awareness of these achievements and inspire the next generation of children to make a similarly positive impact on society."
Following the formal medal presentations, all guests were treated to an Open Top Lap of Honour Tour of the capital courtesy of Big Bus London, which has supported the BCyA since its inception.
Nominations are now being accepted for the 2019 medal presentations, register online at www.britishcitizenyouthawards.co.uk.