British Airways i360 launched their innovative new observation attraction last week and TDC were invited to experience a special preview flight, before the doors to the public opened.
The ‘community champions’ flight was organised by Sussex Newspapers and British Airways i360 to honour heroes across the county, so it was incredibly exciting to hear that seven of our young people, along with their families, would be part of the special event.
It was tough to pick the seven champions – we work with so many exceptional young people – so TDC asked youth groups in each of the areas we work, to nominate their own community champion. The winners were Jordan Back, Kayleigh Rose, Lauryn Carr, Leah Brown, Tom Maher, Riley Gunn and Riziki Millanzi.
Adam Muirhead, Projects Manager, said, “”We are incredibly proud to be supporting and recognising these amazing young people who, in spite of hardship, have offered so much in return to their communities or shown great courage and character in the face of adversity. It is symbolic that they should be rewarded with this fantastic preview flight on the BA i360 as each of them has raised themselves up and, through their community involvement, broadened their horizons.”
The young people were joined by three of the TDC staff team. Claire Burchill, Senior Community Worker Young People in Queen’s Park and Craven Vale, told us how nervous they all were before the flight, but that it was great to be able to take the young people on board. She said, “it’s a lovely way to reward young people in Brighton & Hove for all the contributions they make to their community”.
Claire with Lauryn and Leah
Riley has shown great strength of character in overcoming significant loss and trauma in her life and those that work with her have been incredibly impressed with her recent maturity and responsibility. Riley brought her nan with her and the two enjoyed some selfies at 450ft.
Jordan, a young man who has committed himself to community work, has given his time selflessly to help dance groups, community festivals and his school over the years. His parents were with him on the flight and the three thoroughly enjoyed their unusual flight.
Tom was also there with his parents. Tom has shown a massive increase in confidence over the last year in particular since volunteering at his local bike club. He’s also given his time freely to help run a social enterprise that supports summer activities for local children and young people.
Kayleigh has given amazing amounts to her community through volunteering over the years. She’s supported older people’s clubs and clubs for younger children and all whilst helping to care for her younger brother who has additional needs. It was great to be able to reward her for the efforts that she has put in.
Lauryn and Leah are friends, so they got to catch up in the sunshine before their flight.
Lauryn and Leah catch up
Lauryn volunteers at her local club for young women and has devoted herself to all the extra planning and fundraising activities. She does this having been forced to step back from her college course due to a recurring injury.
Leah has also made a huge impact on her community, voluntarily teaching at a weekly dance group for younger girls, helping with intergenerational events, community clean up days and supporting the local food bank. Achieving all this by the age of 18 makes us excited for what the future holds for Leah.
Riziki was nominated but was unable to attend on the day. We wouldn’t want her contribution to be missed though – Riziki has spent years volunteering with Girl Guides, is editor for a young journalists group and has given her time willingly to special projects including aid work in Africa. David Cameron commended her for her voluntary work in 2015 and we would like to do the same.
To see a video of our community champions on their special flight, head to our Facebook page