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Islington teen scoops London’s first ever YOPEY award

Joel Davis with Justine Greening MP Joel Davis with Justine Greening MP

Tuesday, April 15, 2014
6:45 PM

An Islington teenager has been awarded London’s first Young Person of the Year (YOPEY) for his dedication to helping others in the capital.

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Joel Davis, 19, from Catherall Road, Highbury, shared the £1,000 top prize for his work in setting up a not-for-profit social enterprise helping disadvantaged children with their education by employing university students from migrant backgrounds to tutor them.

Mr Davis’ project, Tutors United, based in Southwark, has seen more than 200 children being tutored since it began in 2012 when he was aged just 17. Families wishing to use the service pay £5 an hour and the poorest pay nothing to receive quality education.

Speaking about what he enjoys most about his project, Mr Davis said: “Witnessing pupils jump a whole academic level, develop in confidence, gaining aspirations and moving on to secondary school with the right tools to succeed, is beyond rewarding.”

Mr Davis had to make a number of sacrifices along the way to achieve his success.

He fell behind at school when he was younger and his mother, a single parent, could not afford extra tuition. When she became ill and had to give up work, Mr Davis and his sister cared for her at home.

Despite this, he graduated from the School for Social Entrepreneurs last year.

The YOPEY awards were set-up to recognise young unsung heroes who have become positive role models for others to follow.

This is the first time the awards have taken place in the capital, with hundreds of young people entering the competition.

Mr Davis drew for first place with an 18-year-old from Croydon, who suffered from acute anxiety and set up a charity to help young people with mental illnesses.

The awards ceremony was attended by Miriam Gonzalez, the wife of Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, cabinet minister, Justine Greening, Greater London High Sheriff, David Jones, and Islington’s deputy mayor, Councillor Theresa Debono, all of whom helped judge the awards.

Mrs Greening praised the YOPEYs. “It’s really important the public get to see the reality of what young people are doing in their communities,” she said.

Visit yopey.org for more information about the awards.

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