Hackney Speaker Praises High Achieving Youths at the Rainbow Theatre

Christian faith, Finsbury Park, hard work, Metropolitan Police Service, Rainbow Theatre, Youth Group,

Wednesday 5th February 2014

Cllr Michael Desmond, the Speaker of Hackney Council, was full of praise for a group of high achieving youths when he attended the Victory Youth Group’s (VYG) annual award ceremony, V-Day, at the iconic Rainbow Theatre in Finsbury Park on Saturday, 1st February.

Now in its eight year, V-Day is the occasion when Youth of the Year awards are made to the VYG members who have most impressed their group leaders and peers over the previous 12 months.

A winner is chosen from each of the active VYG branches in the UK on the strength of their exemplary dedication to hard work, personal achievement, peer support and good conduct.

As guest of honour, Cllr Desmond told the 1,244-strong audience of young people and parents, with special guests from the Metropolitan Police that: “It was a pleasure seeing so many inspirational teenagers, from all over the country including Stamford Hill and Hackney, working together, showing faith and confidence in the future, benefiting from a structured programme, great leadership and good role models. Victory Youth Group are going to achieve great things in the future.”

Pastor Victor Michael, national leader of the VYG, which is the youth programme of the UCKG HelpCentre added: “The slogan for this year’s event was Creating New History because we wanted to focus on members’ successes in overcoming the effects of some extremely challenging personal histories.

“I’m delighted to add that the youths took this title to heart through the supporting programme of music, dance and drama, which brought the Rainbow Theatre back to life in a style reminiscent of its glory days as an entertainment venue.”

This year’s winners were:

Anthony Gomez – Willesden Green

Ashwin Goreba – Luton

Benny Okito – Stratford

Briony Bangura – Edmonton

Chevel Mattie – Brixton

Danielle Jones – Birmingham (Lozells)

Deidre Nganjo – Leeds

Diana Pina – Hackney

Dieudonne Zenga – Plaistow

Duquarne Edwards – Tooting

Elizabeth Rafael – Stamford Hill

Francy Mutua-Silver – Catford

Jade Lewis – Manchester

Jason Owusu – Finsbury Park


Jessica Feno – Southall

Kimberly Gordon – Kilburn

Marjory Chiyesu – Cardiff

Morrilyn Bakkar – Croydon

Niyi Adako – Peckham

Omar Reid – Wood Green

Samuel William – Hammersmith

Simba Baptista – Newcastle

Simone Dias Neto – Birmingham (Bullring)

In addition, Birmingham (Bullring) won the Branch of the Year Award for everyone’s hard work in growing the membership, the commitment these youths made towards their personal development, and their efforts in getting the VYG in Birmingham recognised by the community.

Youth coordinator Miguel Beia who leads the youths in Bullring commented on their achievement: “At the start of 2013 we faced a few set backs but didn’t allow that to drain our spirits. Instead we joined forces and worked together to change the perception of our youth work in Birmingham. Team work is key to success.”


Notes to editors

UCKG is a Christian church and registered charity that offers a range of practical support activities alongside spiritual support and comfort and welcomes all-comers. It reached the UK in 1995 and has gone from strength to strength, providing support and spreading the Christian faith. There are UCKG HelpCentre branches in England and Wales.

The UCKG HelpCentre’s youth group, VYG, is a major long term priority.  Designed for 15 – 23 year olds, the VYG provides the same family-style peer group support that attracts young people to gang life, but without the destructive behaviours.  Rather, it helps and encourages the young to be the best that they can be.

For further information please contact the UCKG HelpCentre Press Officer via e-mail on press@uckgnew.org or direct line 020 7686 6033.

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