Fiona Scott Media Consultanccy

Leading BAME fostering agency, Banya will be hosting the inaugural Banya Breakthrough Awards later this month to celebrate the achievements of foster children in their care.

One of the speakers on the night will be BBC journalist and presenter Ashley John-Baptiste, who was himself brought up in foster care.

The private event will take place on Tuesday 26 October.

Managing director of Banya, Chido Poe, said: "I wanted these young people to know how special they are to have faced challenging times yet still go on to achieve greatness. It is so important that we help our children grow with confidence and a belief that they can go on to do whatever they want in life."

Chido explained there are seven award categories and the winners will receive a trophy to showcase their outstanding success in Educational Achievement; Exceptional Progress; Punctuality and Excellent Attendance; Best Participation; Talented Individual; Outstanding Contribution to Fostering or Outstanding Contribution to the Community.

"I’m hoping the seven categories will empower the young people who win and will inspire the others to go on and win in the future," said Chido. "These awards are just a small step to breaking the stereotypes placed on young people in care and I'm so excited for Banya to be hosting them."

The ceremony will also feature motivational and inspiring speakers such as Ashley John-Baptiste, who has experienced at first-hand a childhood in care and how to overcome difficulties in order to achieve goals, follow his dreams and never give up.

After graduating from Cambridge University, Ashley appeared on the 2011 series of The X Factor as a member of the boy-band, Risk. He is now a journalist and TV presenter, regularly appearing on BBC1's The One Show.

Alongside Ashley John-Baptiste will be Yasmin Udugba, Tom Barnes, Kelley Stephenson and Gavin McKenna, who made the journey from gang membership in London to born-again Christian and is the pioneer behind Reach Every Generation that prevents young people from the perils of crime and violence. Musical entertainment will be provided by Bempa and Sharna Cane - artist, poet, songwriter and rapper/singer.

Set up in South London in 1996, Banya supports children nationally in London,Birmingham, Eastbourne, Hampshire, Cambridgeshire and Yorkshire.

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