AN ENTIRE children’s arts and drama group and their parents nominated their founder for the huge impact she has made on their lives.
Collette Noel, founded Youth Street Beats (YSB) for children aged five to 16 in 2006, after a one-off holiday programme in 2002.
Children have spent their Easter holidays writing letters to back up the nomination of their heroine, whom three described as ‘a true star, shining among hurling rock’.
Others praised her for building their confidence, believing in them and inspiring them to make great strides in their young lives.
Collette, who runs three groups of around 60 youngsters at Twyford High School once a week, was touched by their words.
She said: “That is so lovely of them. People say I am so enthusiastic they feel like my family but that is because I am so passionate about this. Children need self-belief and independence and I speak up for that. I have been given these skills for this purpose. So many kids come back as volunteers and that is the legacy; children coming back to help others.”
Collette, 36, who has one daughter and lives in Ealing, worked for youth theatre in Yorkshire, and later in France on an art and dance exchange programme run by Kensington and Chelsea Council. YSB started as a two-week holiday programme which took off because it was so popular.
It now holds regular local performances to great acclaim. At the age of 16 Collette is also one of the founder member of Descendants, a black youth group which has performed in the Royal Albert Hall and in front of the Queen.
Collette, a school behaviour support tutor, also organises theatre trips to dance festivals to see professionals first hand, to inspire the group. One parent wrote: “Collette has made a positive impact on the lives of hundreds of children. Her dedicated work in the community is done with genuine love of children.”