Following our article about the success of young people from Youth Moves at the recent Bristol Young Heroes awards, we wanted to take a deeper dive with some of the winners. First up is Mitchell.

Mitchell lives in Knowle West and goes to Bridge Learning Campus, and he came away with the Overall hero award. We sat down for a chat.

(NB Photo header credit : Studio Duo)

Did you expect to win?

No. No, not at all. 

So what was it like then when you went up to collect the award?

Well, as soon as I turned up I was like surprised at how many people were there and what the actual venue actually looked like. It was the first one I had been too and was all very grand.

It was really formal. When I walked in, everyone was dressed up in dresses and suits and whatever.

And when you won?

Well first I didn’t win because I was nominated for another award, the superhero award, and I started to believe throughout the night as we had other winners, that I might have a chance of winning that. So I was a bit disappointed. But they kept saying there would be another award at the end, and it didn’t really cross my mind that it would be me.

And then obviously my name got called out towards the end, after they were describing someone and what they had done, and me. I was shocked and emotional. 

Mitchell emotional with his mum on receiving the Overall Hero Award

Did you have to do a speech or anything?

When they called my name, I was like, well, emotional again. Cause I was like, what? How have I won this? Really shocked. Yeah. And I went up and the host Emma, was talking to me and then I told her that I was struggling when I was younger, and that I just want the young people to either follow my path or just do what's good for them.

Why do you think you were nominated and why do you think you won?

I think I was nominated because I started at Youth Moves when I was eight, like really young. And I am now volunteering two nights a week helping youth workers, with Inters and Juniors club.

And I just think it was because of all the hard work I put into this, because they rely on me. So, if they ask me to do something, then I would do it. It is not like I'll let them down by any chance. I think it was probably because of all the many hours I have put in to just to come here, not like as a job to get paid or anything, just to volunteer and help other young people. 

And you have had challenging moments in your own life?

When I was younger yes. I was struggling with anger and how to control myself. And then I think it was when I got to like nine or ten, I had a mentor and then they were helping me at Youth Moves. It was George.

He was just helping me out, teaching me how to speak politely to people. To do different strategies to calm down with anger and stuff. Yeah it just really helped me. And then I starting attending here like four days a week, and things gradually got better.

And do you see younger kids at Inters and Juniors that were like you? 

Yeah. Well, cause with what I went through, what I struggled with when I was younger, it’s easier for me to talk to younger people about it because I know roughly what they're going through.

So it's easy for me to just describe what happened to me when I was younger to them, which helps them I think.

Mitchell heading up to the stage to collect the award

And what do you get out of volunteering? What do you enjoy about it?

Well, I enjoy, working with the staff and young people. Like building relationships with them. And I enjoy like all the trips that we do. Because it’s a reward for our hard work that we put into it.

Would you like to be a youth worker? 

Yeah, but I want to start with being an apprentice next year. Like Summer (current apprentice) is.

As the overall winner on the night, you have got quite a bit of press and media coverage, how has that been for you?

Well, happy because obviously my volunteering is getting noticed and now loads of people know about it. But at the same time, a bit embarrassed as my face has been everywhere. So everyone just sees me around the area. But to be fair all of them just keep saying like, well done, you’ve worked hard so now your stuff's getting noticed.

You also went on BBC radio, how was that?

So I was there really really early, at half past seven in the morning, as I had to speak there in the actual studio. It was good, and has boosted my confidence in talking and that. 

Mitchell talking with former BBC Radio Bristol presenter Emma Britton on stage at the Bristol Young Heroes Awards

You seem really confident in how you come across in your communication – do you feel that with volunteering you are able to help young people that aren't as confident as you yet and give them the kind of support you used to have?

Well, yeah a hundred percent. Exactly that. I feel I can help other younger people, any other young people with whatever they need.