Last night BYC's Vice Chair Dara Farrell received the 'Children's Achievement Award' at the Children and Young People Now Awards ceremony in the Hurlington Club, West London. The awards, now in their 7th year, are described as the 'gold standard' in services for children, young people and families.

19-year-old Dara has been actively involved in youth participation and campaigning for seven years. His hard work and commitment has seen him progress up through his local youth service and on to local and national youth organisations, achieving significant
improvements to his own outcomes while making a remarkably positive contribution
to the lives of other young people. Dara's achievements over this time include being elected as Chair of Kent Youth County Council and as a Member of the UK Youth Parliament.

At the age of 17, his personal experiences inspired Dara to launch a campaign calling for youth services to be spared by proposed Government spending cuts. The campaign 'Save Our Youth Services' gives young people a platform to defend youth services and explain to others the life changing work which often goes unrecognised. In 2010, Dara moved the 'Save our Youth Services' motion at BYC's Annual Council Meeting, and the issue was later selected as a BYC priority campaign. Since then Dara has been very active within the Choose Youth Coalition - he is the only young person to sit on the coalition's steering group and has opened two Choose Youth Services rallies as well as a parliamentary lobby. 

Dara's involvement with BYC was formalised in 2011 when he was elected BYC's Vice Chair of Campaigns and Communications. Since then, he has become been a valuable member of the charity's trustee board (all aged under 26). He is BYC's main media
spokesperson on issues related to youth unemployment and spending cuts affecting young people, and has been interviewed regularly in Children & Young People Now magazine, along with other media outlets including The Politics Show, The New Statesman and BBC Kent.

Most recently, Dara has taken on the role of Chair of the recently-established Youth Select Committee; a pilot initiative supporting young people to hold inquires into issues that  young people care about to influence policies and legislation. The committee's first inquiry, led by Dara with support from BYC and the House of Commons, looked at the accessibility, safety and affordability of public transport for young people - as identified as a priority by members of BYC and the UK Youth Parliament in 2011, alongside 65,000 young people who took part in a national ballot.

As Chair, Dara has played a key role in supporting the 10 other young people on the committee, and is excited about the opportunity that this project will give young people to become more actively involved in Parliament - not just campaigning on the outside, but going inside and actively influencing decision making.