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Nominations begin for Manchester award that ‘reverses stereotypes’

By Paulyn Lloyd

Manchester based charity CARISMA have announced they are now accepting nominations for the OSBA awards 2011.

The awards were setup by CARISMA (Community Alliance for Renewal Inner South Manchester Area) in 2008 as part of Peace week.

The ceremony is a glitzy affair – 2010’s guests included the Lord Mayor, Councillor Alison Firth, the Greater Manchester High Sheriff and Tony Lloyd MP.

O.S.B.A (Outstanding Social Behaviour Award) is an intentional play on words of the ASBO (Anti-Social Behaviour Order).

OSBAs are awarded to people who are doing good things in their community or people who have turned their life around.

CARISMA’S Paul Keeble said he thinks that the awards are a great way of honouring people who are making a positive difference through work in their community.

He said: “It’s a good way of reversing stereotypes. I think it’s always better to encourage people.  

“If they are doing their best and trying and you reward them for their efforts it encourages others to join in and try harder. I think we all like a bit of encouragement and to be told when we are doing well.”

These sort of schemes are common place in most secondary schools now, where emphasising and rewarding  positive behaviour is seen as better than just punishing poor behaviour.

Many schools now give reward points for good behaviour which the students can exchange for prizes.

Zara Fredericks,19, received the turnaround award in this year’s ceremony.

Ms Fredericks went from a life of crime which resulted in an ASBO and five months in a secure unit, to retaking her GCSEs and getting a job.

She said: “People are more proud of me now. They don’t judge me as much anymore.”

She insisted that winning the OSBA has made a big difference to her life. She said “The OSBA proves that I have changed when I go for a job. The ASBO just made people judge me.

“ People would point and say she’s the one that’s got an ASBO. Now they point and say she’s the one who won the OSBA Turn Around award.”

Since receiving the award in March, Ms Fredericks has worked at her old school Meridian Education, a school for children excluded from mainstream education and starred in a short film, made there.

As a result she now has an acting agent.

 She is also studying an access course in Psychology at college.

Ms Lynda Thompson is Head teacher at a Pupil referral unit for children excluded from mainstream education in Oldham.

She said: “Praising learners is an integral aspect of my daily school life. At every opportunity all staff acknowledge and celebrate success no matter how small.

“I steadfastly believe that a solely punitive approach to behaviour is detrimental, hinders progress and labels students.”

The award categories are; Turn Around award, Peace Activist award, Community Cohesion/Diversity award, Young Person’s Award, Positive Role Model award, Peace Activist award and Manchester Peace award.

The ceremony will be on held in March 12th 2011 at The Place hotel in Manchester. To obtain a nomination form log on to http://osbas.co.uk.  Or to sponsor an award contact CARISMA on 0161 226 9905.

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