David Bras took home the award, which this year is again being sponsored by The Diversity Network and HSBC, in recognition for his work with the Jersey Youth Service’s LGBTQ+ Youth Jersey group, which provides a safe, supportive space in which young LGBTQ+ Islanders can socialise.
He encouraged other Islanders to use this year’s awards to nominate not just individuals, but to help raise awareness for all types of organisations and issues.
‘People should 100% go forward with a nomination,’ he said. ‘Sometimes it’s not just about the individual, it’s about raising the profile of their organisation that can also support them and the work they’re doing, which is fantastic.’
So far almost 100 nominations have been made across the 13 categories for this year’s awards. There are just 17 days left to nominate your community heroes and those Islanders who have gone the extra mile during the past year.
Now in its sixth year, the event is due to culminate with a presentation ceremony on 3 December. Nominations close on 31 August, and all individuals or groups nominated will feature in the JEP. Islanders will then be asked to vote for those they think deserve to win, with a different panel of judges for each category making the final choice.
Mr Bras, who was nominated by principal youth officer Mark Capern, said: ‘It was a great experience and I think more than anything else it was the fact that I was part of an event that celebrates people doing good for others.
‘The people who voted for me to be a finalist, it was about those people recognising that LGBTQ+ isn’t just a thing people are becoming aware of, it was the fact that the community was showing that they also value this sort of work and appreciate that someone is doing this sort of work.’
He added: ‘Since then, I’ve been able to share that with young people and say: “I’m an adult standing in front of you telling you that your community has decided to reward someone for their work within the LGBTQ+ community”. So I think it’s motivated me further knowing that the work we do as an organisation, and alongside organisations like Liberate, is appreciated by the community. It’s served as a platform for me to be able to speak to young people about how things are shifting, even though there are still things that they would rather were different.’
Mr Bras said another benefit of winning had been forming a collaborative relationship with sponsors The Diversity Network and HSBC.
‘Prior to Covid-19 we had met a couple of times and started looking at some of the things that were still a challenge for the LGBTQ+ community or diversity in general,’ he said.
‘We started looking at developing some of the support we already have, for parents specifically, and increasing the profile of that support and the awareness for parents across the Island.’
To nominate your community heroes visit prideofjersey.com. Nomination forms are also being printed each day in the JEP.