Young activists’ campaign up for national award

A colourful campaign triggered by a startling statistic and created by a group of young activists from Coventry, is in the running for a national award.

CYA Saturdays by Coventry Youth Activists (aka CYA) has been nominated for the Young Person’s Award at the SMK National Campaigners Awards 2020, hosted online for the first time this year.

Two young people having fun together
“What may look like challenges for others, to us, give us creative ideas.” (Young Person’s Award nomination)

The prestigious awards celebrate the best campaigns and campaigners for social change across the country in a range of categories from Best Digital Campaign to Best Community Campaign to Outstanding Leadership.

The Young Person’s Award category presents campaigns instigated, delivered and led by a person or people under the age of 30. The awards are run by social change championers, the Sheila McKechnie Foundation.

CYA shared the worrying statistic that 1 in 3 young disabled people spend less than an hour outside home on a Saturday while many others are making the most of their weekend.

An ideas factory helped reveal possible reasons behind this – travel issues, overwhelming sensory experiences and personal safety among them – and propelled the group forward into organising an inclusive club night attended by over 100 people, a monthly pub night out in partnership with local licensed venues and an awareness-raising performance involving a sofa on wheels. Plus much more – read their full nomination here.

Their next venture is a series of interviews on isolation featuring actress Sally Phillips and her son Olly, Tourette’s Hero Jess Thom and fellow activist Nusrit Shaheen. It is called CYA on Your Sofa – so named because their own CYA sofa’s tour is temporaily grounded due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The award winners will be revealed in a live online ceremony on 30 September. Watch this space and follow us on social media for news! Fortunately, an online ceremony is in many ways more accessible than a traditional venue… we get to watch it from our own sofa.

With special thanks to: Act Build Change, The Tin Music and Arts, Open Theatre Company and Imagineer Productions for their invaluable contributions to CYA and CYA Saturdays.