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Ten Outstanding Young Persons 2018







Meet our inspiring winners of TOYP 2017 and learn about their extraordinary accomplishments


 Who can qualify?                                  Nominate here 



At the age of 15, Aaron contracted meningitis C and meningococcal septicaemia (blood poisoning) and had to have both legs and most of his fingers amputated. Since then he has gone on to compete in numerous sporting events, including the 2012 London Paralympic games and has raised vital funds for charity. In 2016 he climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, the first time a disabled British person had done so without assistance. He also works with 1000’s of young people across the UK delivering his ‘We All Have Choices’ schools programme. The sessions are aimed to increase aspirations and to understand that any barrier in life is an opportunity.


Dean is a self-taught Palaeontologist and has published many journal articles, two books and is working on a PhD at the University of Manchester. He is a strong advocate for communicating science with the public and regularly appears on television, most recently as series advisor and recurring on-screen expert presenter for ITV’s Dinosaur Britain.



Lilian has worked as a human rights defender for over 20 years. Working with vulnerable communities and groups, she has run campaigns supporting the rights of tribal groups and refugees in times of conflict. Before she left Kenya, Lilian had rescued and supported over 5000 Maasai girls. She has established the North-West Migrants Forum, which promotes and protects minority rights in Northern Ireland. She has designed and implemented projects that ensure minority ethnic communities are engaged in discussions around the implementation of the Northern Ireland racial equality strategy.


Has co-founded multiple organisations which promote and development the contributions of people with disabilities in the media and entertainment industry. She has worked with children who could not attend mainstream school because of medical, physical or mental health challenges at the Royal Free Hospital in London. She set up Quite Frankly Theatre which runs workshops to train young people to be fully rounded creatives that learn how to work together as a theatre company. She also co-founded Triple C, an organisation which uses theatre and drama based workshops to enrich the lives of people living with disabilities. She has recently been cast in Coronation Street.


Having struggled with mental health problems when she lost her father to cancer at the age of 14, Michelle wanted to help other young people going through the same thing. After winning various grants, she launched her own social enterprise providing coaching to those experiencing mental health challenges. She set up Find Your Spark. This is a social enterprise, which aims to prevent mental health problems and build the resilience of at risk young people, parents and professionals. Michelle uses positive coaching psychology on at-risk young people, the outcomes of which include improved   relationships with others, increased engagement in education and more positive emotion.


Olivia’s the co-founder of KOMPAS, a mobile application that acts as users’ pocket guide to the world’s urban jungles by providing localised, tailored recommendations to support global travellers. Throughout the process of establishing the company, Olivia had to hold her own as a female under the age of 25 in meetings with investors and advisors with 40+ years’ experience. KOMPAS has been successful in a level of personalisation that would change the way that people explore a city.


CEO and Artistic Director of multi award winning organisation, In Place of War (IPOW) and uses the power of art and cultural expression in troubled societies to bring communities together. The organisation is a support system for community artistic, creative and cultural organisations in places of conflict, revolution and areas suffering the consequences of conflict. Ruth has pioneered the development of new creative hubs in a Congolese refugee camp; a prison in the war affected area of Uganda, with indigenous hip-hop artists in Uganda; on an island inhabited by single mothers in Lake Victoria, in Soweto, South Africa and in West Bank, Palestine. One of the most common challenges for people in the world’s most marginalised communities is to access to creative equipment.


Sam is the Managing Director of Manchester based content marketing agency Tunafish Media which he formed in 2011 when he was 22 with no start-up capital. He is also an avid fundraiser, volunteer and charity ambassador. As well as his work in the business, Sam is also very passionate about having a positive effect on his local community. In 2015, he founded Not Just Soup; a homeless soup kitchen that helps feed and support homeless people.


After being approached by a struggling start-up to provide legal advice whilst at university, Ryan set up his own firm providing fixed fee services to young start-ups, disrupting the legal industry with an innovative model of working. After graduating, he set up his own business offering straight forward fixed fee contract drafting and IP services for startup businesses in the UK and Europe. Ryan has managed to create a disruptive modern alternative to the traditional law firm, where he faced age discrimination. The straight talking, personable and energetic approach of the company is valued by his clients.


Zoe set up the Living the Dream Performing Arts Company at the age of 16. The company aims to empower and inspire young people to grow in talent, self-confidence and believe in their futures. She has organised flash-mobs, has been instrumental in supporting national campaigns and initiatives, is a motivational speaker, and has performed at many major venues, including for the queen. Zoe organised the ‘I Have a Dream’ campaign in the wake of the 2011 London riots to promote the positive contribution that young people can make through the performing and visual arts. She was selected by Sir Richard Branson to take part in his Control Shift campaign and was instrumental in persuading the Government to launch the Start Up Loans Scheme.

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