A two-time cancer survivor who set up a charity to support pupils who miss classes to be treated has won Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s daily Points of Light award.
Joshua Pelled, from Muswell Hill, created Bright Futures UK after he was himself forced to take two years off school.
He had been diagnosed with kidney cancer when he was five and then osteosarcoma when he was 16, just as he was about to take his GCSE exams.
The experience made him realise how further support could be given to other youngsters who cannot attend school for long periods.
He also realised they need peer support to reduce the isolation many feel when separated from friends during long hospital stays or recovering at home.
Supported by over 200 volunteers and working with NHS partners for referrals, the charity is the first of its kind in the UK and has provided more than 800 students aged 5-24 with tailored classes and personal support since 2017.
That includes tutoring and mentoring programmes, regular workshops and a befriending service enabling young people to connect with one another.
Mike Freer, MP for Finchley and Golders Green, said: “I am delighted Joshua has been recognised for his incredible contribution to the community. It is an appropriate tribute for all he has done in inspiring other young people to overcome health challenges and the impact on their education.”
Joshua said: “I am honoured to receive the Points of Light award for founding Bright Futures UK. I created it from my own personal experiences of beating cancer twice throughout my education.
“It was clear more needed to be done to support children and young people throughout these challenging times. Bright Futures UK focuses on the individual needs of the young people we work for and to support their personal needs, goals and growth.
“Bright Futures UK wouldn’t be what it is today without the incredibly dedicated team behind the charity, the hundreds of volunteers who offer their time with a big smile and all the supporters who have joined us along the journey.
“To all of them, you are the points of light to so many of the young people we work with.”
Joshua is the 1912th person to receive the Prime Minister’s UK daily Points of Light award, which was first launched in April 2014 to recognise outstanding individuals making a difference where they live.
Each day an individual is selected to receive the award to celebrate their remarkable achievements, including hundreds of volunteers who have been recognised for how they have served their communities through the Covid pandemic.
Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.
Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.
For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.
Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.
You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.
100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...
Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.
There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.
In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.
Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.
In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.
Voice of our community to wider society
The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.
We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.