Tim Cole, editor of the Times series of newspapers in London, has been honoured for his commitment to the next generation of news reporters at the 2006 Lord Mayor’s Dragon Awards.
He was presented with the Volunteer of the Year award at a prestigious award ceremony at the Mansion House.
He received the award after three years of work in pioneering a newspaper supplement written by pupils from a number of Brent schools – and was applauded along with nine companies for their not-for-profit contributions to the London community.
He said: “I am very honoured to have won the award, a bonus for doing something which I enjoy, which benefits our newspapers and, I hope, raises the aspirations of the young people who take part. Brent is one of the poorest London boroughs beset with the problems of drugs and gun crime.
“My attitude to our project is that I want to make a difference.
“If just one child makes the right choice to follow a better path in life rather than get sucked down into a life of crime, then however many hours I spend working with that pupil every minute has been worthwhile.”
The student supplement project saw youngsters’ work distributed with the local newspapers, showcasing writing talent and communicating school news.
Tim provided pupils with extensive training in journalistic skills and worked closely with teachers to ensure the project contributed towards students’ literacy and communication skills.
The scheme has seen a successful partnership between Tim, staff from a number of schools in Brent, team members of the Government’s Excellence in Cities project, and the Park Royal Partnership, an organisation representing businesses on the Park Royal Estate, the largest industrial estate in Europe.
The project is still growing – and soon primary and secondary students will work together to produce the supplement.
The Lord Mayor, head of the City of London Corporation, Alderman David Brewer, said: “It is amazing to see what, with time and passion, can be achieved by one individual.
“If Tim’s commitment to support the community with his skills was replicated by all the business people in London we would be making great strides in tackling the deprivation faced in the city’s poorer boroughs.”