The development of the Spirit of London Awards (Sola) in November 2009 was an investment in a project that was designed to help tackle the negative issues prevalent largely in poverty-affected inner city areas of London. Sola which is fondly referred to as the ‘Community Youth Oscars’ was delivered as an annual event from 2009 to 2012, celebrating the positive achievements of young people primarily in London. By putting the spotlight on the vast majority of young people who make the right decisions we took some of the media focus away from the negative actions of the minority. Our aim was to show the world that the young people who make the right decisions could be treated like royalty. Since its inception the awards have grown in size on all fronts.
The nominations since 2009 have exceeded targeted projections with over 11,000 young people being nominated over the last three years. Five thousand of the nominees were achieved at the 2011 event. Our projected nominations target for 2012 of 6,000 was exceeded due to the growth in our links with various youth organizations and schools.
The audience attendance has also grown as the awards have developed starting with an audience of 700 when the event was hosted at the Alexandra Palace in 2009, growing to 2,000 at the Indigo O2 in 2010, 5,000 in 2011 at the Royal Albert Hall and 10,000 in 2012 when the event was staged at the O2 Arena.
Over the four years of staging Sola, the project reached over 20,000 young Londoners through the nominations process and the audience that attended the awards events.