Ardonagh Community Trust announces its first Bright Future Prize winner

11 November 2021

Ardonagh Community Trust, the registered charity of the Ardonagh Group, is delighted to reveal the first ever winner of the Bright Future Prize.  

The judging panel were overwhelmed by the quality of submissions to ACT’s Bright Future Prize — a new £20,000 funding stream to help young people turn their innovative community-based projects into reality.

From tackling the issue of bullying or supporting young people from areas of deprivation in the north to aim high, to increasing access to arts programmes or helping young people to protect their mental health through the power of gaming – these creative and thoughtful projects are a testimony to all our talented Bright Future Prize finalists.

After careful consideration, we are pleased to announce that the first prize of £20,000 has been awarded to the Dawn To The Light team – Demereece Green, Aaliyah Nesbeth and Ahtasham Akhtar. However, judges were so impressed by the overall quality of our finalists’ submissions, that they awarded all three runners up prizes of £5,000, to ensure that all projects benefitted from the prize.

Dawn To The Light aims to help young people to understand, talk about, and look after their mental health. The game will tell an interactive story set in a school, where the player learns more about mental health. Mini games, such as breathing and visualisation exercises, will provide in-game tools for coping with mental health challenges.

The concept for the game began in 2019, when the talented trio were each selected to take part in a project called The Agency - a youth enterprise project run by Contact Theatre in Manchester. Together, they worked to develop the concept for a new game that would help young people to protect their mental health.

Dawn To The Light was inspired by the team’s own experiences growing up in Manchester, where they witnessed the devastating impact that poor mental health has had on the young people in their community.

More than one in 10 young people aged 5-19 meet the clinical criteria for a mental health condition. Despite this, around 75% of young people with a diagnosable mental health condition receive no treatment at all.

Demereece Green, Aaliyah Nesbeth and Ahtasham Akhtar said: “We need to find new ways of helping young people like us to understand, talk about, and look after their own mental health.

“We want to meet young people on their own terms by using gaming as a tool to raise awareness of mental health and helping them to learn more about how to seek support if they need it. With this money we can spread the word about Dawn To The Light and begin to build our demo and get it to the public.

“We are forever grateful to our mentors for their support and guidance and we can't wait to show them what we can do.”

CEO of Ardonagh and ACT Trustee David Ross celebrated the team’s success and praised all entrants to the competition.

He said: “On behalf of the Trustees, I’m delighted to announce the winner of our first Bright Future Prize – The Dawn To The Light project. While the overall standard of applications was incredibly high, Dawn To The Light’s ambitions really resonated with our judges.

“The topic of mental health has never been more important and the fresh new take Demereece, Aaliyah and Ahtasham have brought to this is truly remarkable.

“As a charity that supports communities to become better, brighter and stronger, the fact this project has been inspired by the team’s local community, with input from their peers, will make a real difference. We can’t wait to see the game come to fruition.”

The Bright Future Prize is an annual award open to young people aged 15-19 years old from the UK and Ireland. Entries for our next round will open in Spring 2022.