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Award-winning author David Almond calls for the suffrage for young people

at the 2017 Sandford St Martin Awards


On Wednesday 7th June, David Almond – award-winning author of Skellig and A Song for Ella Grey - will use his speech at the 2017 Sandford St Martin Awards to call for the suffrage and respect of young people.


Presenting the award for the Children’s category, David Almond chaired the jury which considered programmes dealing with some of the most complex and relevant issues for society today, telling stories of asylum, racial discrimination, religious differences between Shia and Sunni, Christian extremism and radicalization.


David Almond says: “Sometimes the state of the world – reflected in the stories and issues that lie behind this year’s shortlisted films – can lead us towards the edges of despair. But we who work for and with young people must leave despair and cynicism behind. Ted Hughes said that ‘every new child is nature’s chance to correct culture’s error.’ Culture’s errors are all around us. We need to put faith in our young. Their creativity sits at the heart of our world and we overlook and sideline them – as we so often do – at our peril.


“I do more and more events where adults and children are in the same audience. After every single event, I know that adults from the audience will come up to me afterwards and ask in astonishment, How do those children know how to make those statements, how do they know how to ask such questions? They know because they are active, engaged and passionate young citizens. They truly are fascinated by the great questions that have pursued us since the beginning of human time. And they are tired of being overlooked, of being taken for granted.


“We’ve all seen those desperate photoshoots when a politician visits a school dressed in suit and tie and perches on too-small chair surrounded by his advisers, attempting to show an interest in the little ones around them. How patronising, how pride-ful, what a horrible presentation of what it means to be ‘grown-up’. The politician who attends a children’s event should be the one who sits in a corner, who looks and listens and learns, and who shuts up.


‘We all need to listen and learn from the young. They are the ones who will create a new and better world. We’re here on the eve of an election that will shape the futures of us all, and particularly that of our young people. Eighteen year olds will be voting. 16 year olds should be voting, too. You don’t think they know enough, are not thoughtful enough? Ask the same questions of many of the 60 year olds you know then look again at sixteen year olds and think again.”


The Sandford St Martin Awards are designed to promote excellence in religious broadcasting, and to champion distinctive journalism and programming that intelligently interprets the world through a religious lens. The Trust encourages and advocates for religious literacy by researching current trends and attitudes as well as providing training throughout the year.



The full Children’s Award Shortlist is:

Ruth’s Story – Fettle Animation for Newsround, CBBC

Refugee - CTVC Ltd for

Blue Peter: The Walk That Changed the World – CBBC Productions for CBBC

Some Father’s Son – duckrabbit for Youtube/Facebook/Extreme Dialogue website

Payback – duckrabbit for Youtube/Facebook/Extreme Dialogue website

Shia //Sunni – CTVC Ltd for


The winners will be announced at the Sandford St Martin Awards for religious broadcasting tomorrow at a star-studded ceremony at London’s Lambeth Palace.


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