Read more about our TPAS Young Winners
We're proud to boast three TPAS Young Tenant of the Year award winners in our ranks!
TPAS promotes excellence in resident involvement and the standard at their national award ceremony is extremely high. Here, AmicusHorizon talks to the three winners - Demi-Jade Clemeston (13), Jaden Cameron (19) and Abba Ashmeade (14) - and discovers how they're smashing stereotypes and improving lives!
Dressed casually and chatting about their lunch, they look like your average teenagers. But the achievements of Demi-Jade Clemeston, Jaden Cameron and Abba Ashmeade make them far from average. For the trio have each won a prestigious TPAS Young Tenant of the Year award - beating off stiff competition from across the country. It caps a remarkable feat for housing association AmicusHorizon who can proudly boast three winners over three consecutive years.
Each individual has their own unique story which makes it clear why the judges picked them.
They're breaking down the negative images surrounding young people and setting a shining example to their peers.
All three have very different personalities, but the one thing they all have in common is the determination to make a difference.
The youngest out of the trio is Demi-Jade. She may have been aged just 11 when she scooped the Tenant Empowerment Organisation award in 2012. But even at this tender age she was making a positive mark on society.
She was mentoring at a homework club and joining in clean-up campaigns within her area.
Now aged 13, she recalls the moment she won the TPAS award: "I froze when they said my name and I won the award. I burst into tears and I was still crying after! It's a good thing to get involved. Not only does it give you something to do, but it can be fun too!"
Jaden, who won the 2013 award, has a maturity beyond his years. It's clear Abba and Demi-Jade look up to him, and they're not the only ones. Older people have relied on Jaden to get their shopping when they're unable to go out. And he even translates and interprets for his Iranian neighbour wherever needed.
The 19-year-old wants to show young people they can make a difference and that they should "reach for the stars". He said: "The Tulse Hill area where I live has the highest levels of burglaries in the country as well as high levels of violent crime. This includes muggings, violence and gun and knife attacks. The stereotype is that all young black males are responsible. Well my aim, as a young black male, is to teach people not to judge a book by its cover."
This year's winner Abba, 14, is an inspiration to his neighbourhood. Out of the three winners he's the quietest and very modest about his achievements. But there's an inner confidence to him. His determined attitude helped set up a partnership with Millwall Football Club where there are now regular sport sessions for young people. He also dedicates 36 hours every month to volunteering.
Abba said: "I like helping other people in my age group. You get to meet new people from different areas. It makes me feel proud when I'm able to make a difference."
Looking to the future, they all have aspirations and AmicusHorizon is determined to help them fulfil their dreams. Jaden wants to do something that helps people, either in sport or child care. The housing association has already paid for his Football Association coaching sessions.
Demi-Jade is interested in finding a job in IT and the housing provider has bought her extra school equipment to assist her studies.
While Abba is keeping his career options open. But he loves football and AmicusHorizon is already exploring ways to help him become the next David Beckham! AmicusHorizon is helping with their personal development too. They've delivered schemes like Girls Night In, which is designed to encourage girls and young women to talk in a safe environment about real life issues that affect them.
Demi-Jade, who attended, explained: "It's great. We have nights where we talk about things we can't really talk to anyone else about - apart from girls."
All three TPAS winners are members of AmicusHorizon's London Regional Youth Forum. The forum was launched in October 2010 and is made up of a group of young people aged 11-19 from a range of different backgrounds. With the strong backing of the housing association the forum has organised youth conferences, created a safety booklet for their peers and even galvanised the community to clean up the streets following the devastating riots in Croydon in 2011.
Althea Callum, Resident Involvement Officer at AmicusHorizon, added: "It's been amazing to see the development of Demi-Jade, Abba and Jaden. They're now role models for other Youth Forum members. It just shows what can be achieved if we all work together. I'm looking forward to the next chapter in their lives and I've no doubt they'll be successful in whatever they decide to do."