Zoe Jackson was awarded the Young Person of the Year at the Chamber of Commerce Business Awards Presentation Party Night at Havana, Victoria Street, St Albans on Thursday 27th September. Zoe was nominated by Graham Lane, Managing Director of Cheeky Munkey and the award was sponsored by Oaklands College.
Zoe said, “I am so honoured to be given this award and to be recognised for what I have achieved since setting up Living the Dream at the age of 16 as well as my passion for working with and inspiring young people.”
The ceremony included a surprise flash mob performance by 30 Living the Dream dancers who had the guests believing that they were waiters until the music started. They did a routine to a compilation of seventies music.
Full list of winners is on the Chamber of Commerce website: http://www.stalbans-chamber.co.uk/chamber-community-business-awards-2012/
Notes to editors
Interview video with the three finalists
About Zoe Jackson and Living the Dream
In 2006, at the age 16, Zoe Jackson was offered a place at the National Youth Theatre and to subsidise her course fees, she created a performing arts company, Living the Dream. The company, now in its fifth year, has grown and is made up of over 500 young people from Hertfordshire and London, aged 5-25 who take part in showcases, flash-mobs, events, workshops, classes and after school clubs. Living the Dream is completely unique in that it is run by young people for young people. We are committed to supporting and developing young people from all walks of life; therefore, we do not charge expensive fees.
The ethos of Living the Dream is to provide a safe environment in which its members can grow in talent, confidence and self-esteem, meet new people, discover new talents, work as a team and most of all to have fun! We have found that our students respond extremely positively to working in a youth-led environment, with more freedom to express themselves.
By putting young people’s voices at the core of Living the Dream’s creative process, their sense of empowerment has raised their aspirations and made them become more positive about their futures. As Living the Dream has grown, so too has our commitment to supporting and developing young people to believe in themselves and promote the positive contribution that they can make through the arts. Zoe’s passion is to inspire young people, provide a platform to showcase their talent and make them more positive about their futures and what they can achieve.
The company has expanded to include a School of Performing Arts, Professional Dance Company, Media Company and dance wear brand. Our media team have been chosen by Virgin Media to produce the first youth-led, interactive on-demand television Dance App on their revolutionary TiVo service.
Zoe has recently established The Dream Foundation as a registered charity to champion and support young people. She intends, through the foundation’s activities, to raise awareness and support for the challenges facing young people in the 21st century and provide a platform for their voices to be heard.
Zoe was recently selected to represent Richard Branson's Control Shift Campaign as a spokesperson for young entrepreneurs, and was instrumental in pursuading Government to launch the multi million pound Youth Enterprise Loan (Start Up Loans), announced in the March 2012 budget for £82.5m to support young entrepreneurs. She was also selected to act as one of 12 ambassadors for the newly launched Start Up Loans alongside James Caan (Dragon's Den).
List of awards:
2012 - Winner of the Young Person of the Year award with the Chamber of Commerce Business Awards
2012 - Shortlisted as one of the UK's best 80 small businesses with The Pitch
2012 - Finalist for the MADE Changemakers award to win mentoring with top business figure
2012 - Winner of the Youth Achievement Award - Universal Federation for Peace and Women's Federation for Peace
2012 - Finalist in the Lloyds TSB Enterprise Awards
2011 - Winner of the Women of the Future in the Arts, Media and Culture award - Real Business
2011 - Winner of the Future 100 Social Entrepreneurs award - Striding Out, Ernst and Young
2011 - Winner of the Mayor's Pride Award for Cultural Innovation
2009 - Winner of the Top Ten Teenagers in the UK - role in inspiring young people. PR Company - Ing Media
Living the Dream is one of the few performing arts companies in the UK run by young people for young people.
Zoe Jackson set up Living the Dream Performing Arts Company in 2006 at the age of 16. She wanted to give young people the chance to take part in something affordable, accessible, fun and exciting! Over the last six years, Living the Dream has grown beyond recognition and is made up of over 750 talented young people, aged 5-25 who take part in classes, events, showcases and flash-mobs in a youth led environment.
We have also established the Dream Foundation our registered charity, to provide subsidised or free access for young people to performing arts training and performance opportunities who would otherwise not be able to take part through financial hardship.
Living the Dream are working with Virgin Media to produce the Living the Dream Dance App including videos of performances, interviews and classes from the best dancers in the UK. Available on TiVo in the apps section or on Living the Dream TV on our website.