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Community champion

546. Kemoy Walker

A school teacher and voluntary worker from Moss Side has led work to improve community cohesion and improve youth aspiration throughout Manchester.

Kemoy Walker, 25, from Moss Side, Manchester, has been recognised by the Prime Minister for establishing projects that bring together and inspire young people in his local community. Kemoy moved from Jamaica to the Moss Side estate aged 11. After seeing the devastating effect that gang violence had in the local area, he was inspired to bring about positive change in his community.

For the last 9 years Kemoy has worked in partnership with Powerhouse running a popular youth club for young people. He set up a debate club, managed media projects and ran accreditation courses in IT.

Kemoy also founded a performing arts group called KYSO, which is made up of around 50 young people from Moss Side. The group provides a purpose and an inspiration to troubled young people, and Kemoy provides pastoral support, advice, and lessons in entrepreneurship. Kemoy is a Moss Side Ambassador, acting as a positive voice for the Caribbean community across Manchester. He was also the driving force behind the foundation of the Manchester Youth Council, prompting young people to engage in their community.

He did all of this and also became the youngest person in Britain to become a qualified Teaching Assistant. In 2010 he gained his adult teaching qualification and is now a full time teacher in the area.

He is a trustee of Young Advisors, which gets young people involved and engaged in their community, breaking down barriers between groups and improving cohesion. As a trustee, Kemoy leads and inspires 150 Young Advisors to volunteer and give young people training and learning opportunities. Afterwards, the young people are connected with community leaders, helping them to engage in community life, improve services and local decision-making. The charity estimate that in 2014, 11,000 young people were influenced by the work of their Advisors.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

“Kemoy has shown himself to be a real community champion, supporting and empowering Moss Side’s young people to get the skills and opportunities they need to shape their own lives and make the changes they want to see in their city. I’m pleased to name him a Point of Light today.”

Kemoy said:

Often we do things in life that take up a huge time but it’s worth it when you have a passion for something. To win an award from the Prime Minister is a major achievement and something I never thought that a young person from Moss Side could win. I am very proud of this, and my community is extremely happy! It brought a tear to my eye! I have to say that I enjoy making a difference and to be recognised for it is brilliant, thank you for this, I am still in shock.”

The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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