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Revealing the winners of the ACT Bright Future Prize 23/24

We are thrilled to announce the winners of this year’s ACT Bright Future Prize, which searches the world for the next generation of community leaders.

Our shortlist of eight fantastic finalists represented five different countries, and each with their own project and passion to make a difference to the people and world around them.

The winners of our four categories share the prize fund of £40,000 – with the funding empowering them to turn their bright ideas into a reality. This year’s shortlist was so impressive that, for the first time, ACT is providing grants to all finalists, meaning a total of over £50,000 awarded to our 2023/24 cohort.

ACT’s Bright Future Prize remembers Freddie Williams, son of Ardonagh colleague David and his wife, and Independent ACT Trustee, Sarah. When Freddie died following a four-year journey with bone cancer he left the contents of his money box to ACT with a simple message: ‘To help pay for special treats for the next poorly child’. This simple gesture led to the idea of the Bright Future Prize, which seeks to enable young people to make a positive impact – and as part of Freddie’s continued legacy, David and Sarah help select our Bright Future Prize winners.

Join us in in congratulating our 2023/24 Bright Future Prize winners and all eight of the inspirational teens who reached this year’s shortlist.

Congratulations to our winners!

We are delighted to reveal the four winners of the ACT Bright Future Prize 23/24.

Each of our winners impressed our ACT Trustees not only through their project ideas, but determination to take action to lead positive change – and all exemplify the Bright Future Prize’s mission to invest in future community leaders.

They share the £40,000 prize fund, securing £10,000 (or equivalent local currency) each from ACT to invest in their fantastic bright ideas.

Cork, Ireland

Winners of the Your Community category

 Aid Avengers are a group of six teens– Carrie, Louie, Mikayla, Emma, Robyn and Amy – who all go to school at Coláiste an Chroí Naofa in Cork, Ireland.

Together, they are determined to improve the life-saving skills of young people in their local area – and across the whole of Ireland. Being in a rural area, the importance of first aid is paramount to community wellbeing and they aim to educate a new generation of first aiders by creating a network of trained young people in communities around the country.

Already, they’ve been making the most of their individual skills sets – creating animations, holding awareness activities, producing their own branding and just this month hosting a first aid event with support from the local fire service. They are filled to the brim with ideas just waiting to get put into action.

This funding has us ecstatic to think of the future, where there is a chance that lives can be saved due to younger generations being educated on how to do first aid. We are so grateful for ACT opening up doors we thought we could never go through. Thank you ACT!
Aid Avengers

Victoria, Australia

Winner of the Your Planet category

Chloe has two passions, coding and the environment. Through her self-founded initiative, Code<Green/>, she uses interactive programming to educate young people about climate change, its impact, and to inspire others to take action. Already, Chloe has mentored over 150 children in Melbourne through workshops and created a prototype of an online learning platform.

ACT Trustee and Ardonagh Australia Chairman, Paul Lynam, met with Chloe after she found out she was a winner!

Now, she wants to take Code <Green/> to the next stage, expanding to reach more young people across Australia – and the world.  Conscious of access to technology, as well as programming, Chloe is developing a suite of board games which will make the information and skills she’s eager to share more accessible, particularly in rural areas of Australia. She’s also evolving her online platform, so that it can offer even more resources and establishing a network of volunteers to expand the reach of her workshops.

My mission with CodeGreen is to empower children to create a climate positive Australia. I am so excited and humbled that ACT believes in this mission.
Chloe McCormick

Leiria, Portugal

Winner of the Your Vision category

Íris has a dual perspective to her surroundings and community. Having grown up in Brazil, just over a year ag she and her family moved to Leiria in Portugal. Since this transition, she's seen the devastating impact that forest fires can have on a community and the environment, having experienced them first hand in her local area. Fire is a significant area of risk across Portugal, which includes the devastating impact and loss of life in the region of Pedrógão Grande in 2017, which remains close in the memories of many people.

With dreams of being an engineer, Íris has harnessed these aspirations to begin her own project to improve safety in her home of Leiria. Her innovative app design uses a traffic light system to provide an alarm system which could potentially prevent the loss of life and habitat. With support from MDS Portugal, part of Ardonagh Global Partners, Íris hopes to be able to turn her plans into action.

I would like to express my thanks for this opportunity. I am at a loss for words, can hardly express my joy. But I would like to emphasize that this win isn't just mine, it's for all the people who've lost friends and loved ones in fires, as well as their property and for the environment. Finally, I would like to pay tribute to all the victims and family members stricken by the fire at Pedrógão Grande through this prize.
Íris Fonseca

Limpopo, South Africa

Winner of the Your Passion category

Manganye is an avid source of entrepreneurial spirit in his home, the rural town of Itsani in Limpopo. Full of ambition and a keen baker, he aspires to open his very own community bakery business in his hometown, with the aim of encouraging young people just like him to think big and think bold.

Already, he's been part of a host of pop-up events and markets to hone his baking and business talents, and now wants to set up his own bakery to develop not just his own skills but to support other people in the community to do the same.

He plans to create a purpose-built bakery which will specifically hire and train young people in his local area – setting them on their own path to success. The bakery will also be a hub for community activity and events, bringing everyone together.

I am thrilled to be a winner of the Bright Future Prize! It validates the hard work and dedication I've put into my dreams. Winning this competition means I have the opportunity to bring my vision of opening a community bakery to life, not just for myself but to create a positive impact for other teenagers as well. The support from the competition will empower me to turn my passion into a reality and make a difference in my community I also hope other teenagers will be inspired to do good just like me.
Manganye Onndwela

Bright Future Grant Awards for our finalists

This year’s eight-strong shortlist were so incredible that for the first time, ACT has awarded grants to each of our four remaining finalists to help them develop their projects.

Anna, Kagiso, Imogen and Isabel each exemplified a passion to lead positive changes.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Anna is a hugely passionate advocate of good mental health and has already been at the forefront of action in her local community in Rio de Janeiro to support the wellbeing of her peers. She has established her own youth mental health project, which aims to further understanding of mental health and ultimately to prevent suicide.

Now, she plans to extend the project’s conversation circle events, collaborate with professional psychologists and provide excursions, which otherwise are often not possible for young people in her area of Rio.

Phake, South Africa

Kagiso is incredibly enterprising, having earlier this year set up his own community development project called 'Kagiso Kgatle Foundation'. Through the foundation, Kagiso works to inspire young people in and around Phake, a rural town in South Arica, to develop their leadership skills and support them to reach their personal goals. Through the project, he's worked closely with several schools to hold mini events, which has led to over 100 people registering their interest, and now he’s establishing a board of young people to take the project to the next stage.

Making a difference and a positive impact to those in my sphere has been a part of me, and through this organization, I'll be able to fulfil that. Being part of ACT Bright Future Prize for the last months has allowed me to develop my project to the max, and I'm really glad that I'll be able to change lives.
Kagiso Kgatle

Victoria, Australia

Imogen is on a mission to create a support space for young people who have experienced or been impacted by the youth justice system in Australia. Unfortunately, many young people are directly or indirectly affected by crimes, which may or may not result in the perpetrator's conviction. Imogen wants to make sure these young people do not feel isolated or abandoned, by creating a dedicated hub space where young people can connect with one another and access support.

Cork, Ireland

Statistically, girls quit sports at one and a half times the rate that boys do, and by the age of 17, over half of girls take part in no sport. This is where Isabel's innovative idea, 'HerSportHub', aims to make a difference.

Combining her two passions, coding and sport, Isabel has created a dedicated app which she hopes cultivate a network of girls that thrive on sport and to connect them with clubs and groups in their area where they can access activities. In addition, the app will provide a hub to showcase women role models in sport and to share resources and events, in Cork and across Ireland.

I'm so grateful to be awarded funding by ACT, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and the investment into my project, HerSportHub, will help me with my dream of achieving gender equity in sport through technology. My project is about uplifting and showcasing amazing individuals which is exactly what ACT is doing with this fantastic prize for young changemakers.
Isabel Connolly

Discover our Bright Future Prize alumni

Since the launch of Bright Future Prize, ACT has awarded over £110,000 to aspiring young people committed to making a difference to the people and world around them.

Discover more about our previous Bright Future Prize winners, including our 2022 winners Kaydi, Sara, Jeffrey, Muhammad and our 2021 winners, teen-trio, Dawn to the Light – whose own projects include self-build wooden wind turbine kits, using martial arts to combat loneliness in elderly people, and creating video games to support mental health.

You can learn more about all our previous winners and the story behind the prize on the Bright Future page of the ACT website.

Stay up to date with all things ACT

To date, ACT, together with our 11,000+Ardonagh colleagues around the world, has raised over £5.5 million and supported over 1,000 causes.