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‘It’s the daddy of all certificates’: Hackney’s Crib founder Janette Collins Pride of Britain finalists

PUBLISHED: 07:29 21 October 2016 | UPDATED: 10:55 21 October 2016

Janette Collins at the Women of the Year Lunch, with MP Diane Abbott (left), former children's TV presenter Floella Benjamin and journalist Ronke Phillips

Janette Collins at the Women of the Year Lunch, with MP Diane Abbott (left), former children's TV presenter Floella Benjamin and journalist Ronke Phillips

janette collins

A youth worker is in the running for a top national award – just weeks after bagging a “Women of the Year” prize.

Janette Collins at the Women of the Year Lunch, with TV presenter Lorraine KellyJanette Collins at the Women of the Year Lunch, with TV presenter Lorraine Kelly

Janette Collins, who founded The Crib youth project in De Beauvoir, is down to the last 10 in this year’s Pride of Britain Awards.

And the 57-year-old also joined more than 400 women at the Women of the Year Lunch on Tuesday with Doreen Lawrence, the mother of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence, and a host of TV presenters.

She was chosen as a “2016 Woman of Achievement” for “making a difference every day”.

Janette set up The Crib in 1999 spurred on by experiences during her youth, when she fell in with a gang and had a baby at the age of 14. The charity helps young people find work and education and promotes awareness of gun and knife violence.

Janette Collins has been shortlisted for a Pride of Britain awardJanette Collins has been shortlisted for a Pride of Britain award

Janette, who lives in De Beauvoir, told the Gazette she is “ecstatic” and feels “blessed for the achievements in my life”

“I always wanted to go on TV when I was younger. The award says ‘the pride of Britain’ – it’s the ultimate achievement, the daddy of all certificates. Every year I follow it and I admire the person who wins.

“It makes me feel fantastic really that our organisation is still going, and the young people recognise what I’ve been doing – to be honest I couldn’t have done this without the young people’s ideas.”

Janette is on call 24 hours and day and can sometimes be woken up at 2am on a Saturday night if someone has been arrested or if they are having an “incident with a parent”, or if they don’t have anywhere to stay.

“My whole life belongs to working and improving the lives of young people,” she explained.

“I decided when I was 18 to dedicate my life to young people when I set up the Milton Gardens youth club. I said I wished I’d had someone like myself to turn to in times of crisis. I was a teenage mum, and I had to find direction myself. I’ve turned myself around.

“I say to all our young people: ‘Try not to get a criminal conviction, but if you do you can still achieve great things in life. Don’t think your life is over.’

“The thought of striving to help other people puts that fire in your belly when you see you are changing lives to go on and do more.”

If she had more funding – which she says is hard to obtain – her ultimate aim would be to open up a children’s home, which she would call Turning Point.

“We would get in young men and women who are hard to reach and excluded from school, and give them love, care and understanding – which most of them need,” she said.

“Most of them get put into pupil referral units, meaning it’s more likely they enter the criminal justice system.”

She says sometimes she might not feel she is making a difference to those who are “hard to reach”, but in time those are the people who show her gratitude for her time, patience and never having given up on them.

The Pride of Britain Awards, hosted by Carol Vorderman, are on October 31. Prince Charles, Prime Minister Theresa May, Team GB and more than 100 stars take part in the event, which is screened the following night on ITV.


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