Feature: Spirit of London Awards

Monday 29 November 2010 by Sarah Smith

November 2010

On 27 November at the IndigO2, Hayley Rea, Principal of Aim High Dance Academy, who took part in the first year of Youth Dance SpaceXchange was awarded the prestigious Spirit of London Award for Achievement Through The Arts. SOLA Awards aim to celebrate all that is good about the young people of London.



With an array of different councils from across the capital being represented in the final list, some making an appearance for the first time, it was hoped that the awards ceremony would truly capture the spirit of London’s youth. Youngsters were nominated in several categories including achievement in sports, arts, media, education and more. Hayley Rea, Principal of Aim High Dance Academy saw the Youth Dance SpaceXchange project as ‘The kick start that I needed to set up my own dance school!’ and since setting up, her school has gone from strength to strength. Hayley also teaches on the Time of Your Life Dance Academy programme.

Winner of the award for Community Business Entrepeneur was Jessica Elliott, founder of Dancing After School. Her company works with schools to provide dance classes following the National Curriculum during schools hours and as an extra curricula activity.

Jessica Elliott wins a Spirit of London Award 2010 for Community Business Entrepreneur

Jessica Elliott wins a Spirit of London Award 2010 for Community Business Entrepreneur

Jessica Elliott wins a Spirit of London Award 2010 for Community Business Entrepreneur

Jessica said _’I am honoured to receive the Community Business Entreprenur Award. I was able to take some students who attend Dancing After School and J’s Dance Factory sessions with me to the awards so it was a great experience for them too! I feel truly blessed to be able to create opportunities for out of work dancers and to provide quality dance sessions for so many children throughout the capital and it’s great to be recoginised! _ ‘

Jessica is also the founder of Saturday dance school, J’s Dance Factory, set this up three years ago and currently training one hundred children and young people in ballet and street dance. For more information visit www.dancingafterschool.com and www.jsdancefactory.co.uk.

About the awards **The awards were launched in 2009 by the Damilola Taylor Trust as a way of addressing the imbalance in the way young people are portrayed in general.

“We wanted to create an awards event that young people could feel was truly inspirational and showed how passionate we were about promoting the young people of London positively. Damilola was an ambitious, hard working little boy with positive dreams and we feel it appropriate for his legacy to be enshrined in an awards scheme that honours the kind of young person he was turning into”
said Gary Trowsdale, MD of the Damilola Taylor Trust.

“The young people honoured last Year were all such wonderful examples of the kind of positive young person London can be proud of – it made all the hard work that went into making the project happen worthwhile. This year it seems that the candidates are of an even higher standard in both achievement and community spirit so the project is truly blessed. This Year is especially poignant for us of course with it being held on the 10th anniversary of Damilola’s death“ said Richard Taylor.

The judges **The winners in each category were determined by a salubrious and eclectic panel of judges including Richard Taylor, Theresa May, Leona Lewis, Ashley Cole, Alan Johnston, Brooke Kinsella, Rio Ferdinand, Frank Warren, Oona King and Camila Batmanghelidjh amongst others. Many of the judges and their colleagues from the world of sport and showbiz, along with the Mayor of London were in attendance on the night. The awards ceremony also featured performances from the likes of Roll Deep, Flawless, Toploader and was hosted by Tasha Danvers.

For more information about the awards and to view all category nominations and winners visit www.spiritoflondonawards.com.

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