TWO Bradford women were among the winners of last night’s 29th Yorkshire Young Achievers Awards, sponsored by McCormicks Solicitors.

Stacey Burrows of Esholt took the Achievement in Management and Enterprise Award and Iqra Tabassum of Bradford was Achievement in Education winner in front of 360 guests at the Leeds United Centenary Pavilion.

The awards mark the achievements of young people in seven categories, from the arts to sport. Organised by the Yorkshire Young Achievers Foundation, the annual event has now raised more than £1.3m to support young people in Yorkshire. An eighth award is made to a Foundation supporter.

Stacey received the award for her business, celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, which has changed the lives of hundreds of young people across the region.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: YYAA Management and Enterprise Stacey Burrows and Jan Fletcher OBEYYAA Management and Enterprise Stacey Burrows and Jan Fletcher OBE (Image: YYAA)

Her original life plan was to become a barrister, something she was successful in achieving, but then a public speaking course, designed to boost her confidence, set her off on a whole new track.

She realised the same lack of confidence she had suffered from also affected many youngsters and, driven by her enjoyment of working with young people, she set up a business offering drama and speech to enable children to reach their full potential.

This proved so successful she quit her job as a barrister and set about growing the business, forming Articulate Speech, Drama and Casting in 2013. It now has ten full-time office staff and eight teachers covering venues in West, South and North Yorkshire.

She has developed extensive relationships with production companies to ensure the children in Articulate can access the best possible opportunities in film and television, with some of Articulate’s youngsters appearing in productions including The Railway Children Return, The Duke, All Creatures Great and Small and Gentleman Jack.

She now aims to work with underprivileged young people across the region through subsidised courses to ensure they can reveal the same potential as their peers.

Iqra, who won the Achievement in Education award, has made an amazing success of her job, despite the fact that it is not what she envisaged when she set out on her career path.

She grew up in Bradford and originally planned to study biomedical engineering. She was offered a university place but suffered some health issues so, with the help of a personal academic tutor, who she describes as “inspirational”, she re-evaluated her options and chose to study civil and structural engineering at the University of Bradford.

Throughout her course, she was passionate about student representation, tutoring students with dyslexia, Ehlers–Danlos syndrome and autism in addition to her own studies.

She is now Education Officer for the University of Bradford and was described in her nomination as exhibiting “exceptional leadership, innovative thinking and an unyielding commitment to enhancing the educational experience of every student at the University”.

Her initiatives have included numerous successful events, including a Qawwali concert, student newsletters and surveys and involvement in external projects such as meeting the Kashmir Board of Investors to promote opportunities for women in STEM and her involvement in the Muslim women’s art research project.  

Chairman of the Awards Peter McCormick OBE said: “Every year we are astonished, inspired and, frequently, moved to tears by the amazing stories of our winners whose achievements underline the depth and breadth of the quality of the young people in our region.

“None of this would be possible without the support of our sponsors and our guests, many of whom have been with us almost since the beginning, and I am very proud that with their help, we were able to continue our grants programme which helps young people across Yorkshire to reach their full potential.”

The full list of winners:

Personality of the Year was awarded to Isabella and William Flanagan, 12, of Halifax for their roles in Coronation Street.

Achievement in Sport was awarded to Archie Gray, 17, of Harrogate, a rising star at Leeds United.

Youngster of the Year was given to Eden Smith, eight, of Holmfirth for being a brave young girl after being diagnosed with neuroblastoma.

Achievement in the Arts, was awarded to Lucy the pianist, 13, from Brighouse who captivated an audience on Channel 4’s, The Piano.

Unsung Hero, was presented to Owen Jeffers, 19, of Sherburn-in-Elmet who saved a man’s life after noticing him walk on to a bridge.

Special Award, was presented to Mike Riley of Harrogate walked 206 miles from St Bees in Cumbria to Robin Hood’s Bay in North Yorkshire, via England’s highest peak of Scafell over 14 days to raise a massive £4,000 for the Foundation.