The inaugural Inspiring Children’s Awards were held at Aston Villa FC on 3rd June and were our opportunity to celebrate the inspiring children that embody the values of the Dot programme, and the adults that do fantastic work advocating for and supporting these young people. We honoured eight children and five adults on the evening and the audience were clearly moved and inspired by the stories told. The stories told demonstrate the reasons why we continue to work to empower more children to lead happy and fulfilled lives.
The evening itself was hosted by Sir Hugh Orde and Anton Du Beke and featured a host of entertainment from the world of dance and song. In his opening address to the audience, Sir Hugh outlined the importance of the work Dot Com Foundation do, especially for the police, saying:
‘Anyone who might ask why the police would support a programme in this way will learn the answer in the stories that you will hear tonight from award winners. There is clear evidence that this programme empowers children and helps prevent them from choosing a life of crime and also empowers them to ask for help and to report crime.’
Kristina Rihanoff, the patron of the charity, spoke movingly about the difficulties in her childhood, and in many ways summed up the reason for the charity’s existence,
“When I was growing up, the violence in my household badly affected my life and I felt unloved and afraid a lot of the time. It would have helped me so much to have a friend like Dot Com and to be able to write about my feelings in a Dot Com journal and learn that the violence was not my fault.”
As befits a charity with Kristina Rihanoff as patron, dancing featured highly on the agenda for the evening. Strictly 2015 finalist Giovani Pernice and his partner Korina Travis wowed us with two numbers throughout the evening and junior dancers Korey and Maddie, who were such a hit at out BT Tower dinner, also returned to provide entertainment during and after dinner. We even had a surprise dance late in the evening, where one of our very kind sponsors, Deb Leary got to strut her stuff on the dance floor with Giovani, she was definitely a 10 from us.
Entertaining us in song throughout the evening were the sensational Russell Jones Jr , the wonderful Beth Sherburn, and the captivating Chloe Jasmine. Every single one of them was amazing and it was great for all the audience to see such talented performers close up.
Derek Thompson was our awesome auctioneer who helped us generate funds on the evening to enable us to continue and expand the work of the charity. We had some fantastic auction prizes on the evening so many thanks to Cancun for a Cause, Apple Apartments, West Midlands Police and Kristina Rihanoff. We raised a total of £30,000 on the night, which will be invaluable in helping get the Dot Com programme to more children across the country, thank you everyone on the evening for all your support.
The real stars of the evening though were our award winners. Schools were asked to nominate both children and adults who inspired them and demonstrated the good values in every day life that the Dot Com Programme teaches. The awards were given for bravery, caring for others and for helping to make the world a better place. Time and again, the audience were clearly moved by the courage shown by our award winning children as well as inspired by the great work done by teachers and parents who also won awards.
Sharon Evans, CEO of Dot Com thanked everyone who had made the night possible and praised all the award winners for everything they had done, and continue to do to inspire others. She also encouraged everyone attending to continue working hard to empower children and help change lives for the better.
“If you are in this room it is because empowering children and giving children the skills and the self belief to change the world means a great deal to you. We have all the right people here in this room to help our charity make a difference to the lives of thousands of children.”
The evening was a great success – the stories shared will help inspire others and the money raised will help ensure we are able to continue the work of the Foundation.
Many thanks to Phil Gammon for the wonderful photographs you see above
The Dot Com Children’s Foundation would also like to thank the following:
Anton Du Beke
Sir Hugh Orde and Lady Orde
Giovanni Pernice and Korina Travis
Maddie and Korey
Viv and Derrick Keating
Bob and Nicola Parker
Trevor Smith-Foreman and all at Ginger Monkeys
Joe Adams and all at Success Dynamics
Susie Warner West Midland’s Police
Paul and Claire Barradell
Lauren Lunn Farrow
Russell Jones Jr
and everyone who has helped make the night a success and continues to support the work of the Dot Com Children’s Foundation.