On Saturday 1st November, the winners of the inaugural Future8 Awards, showcasing the top young digital talent in the UK and Ireland were announced at an exclusive ceremony held at Google Campus, London.
Launched in partnership with The Guardian, The Future8 Awards is a groundbreaking initiative to encourage 7-17 year olds in the UK and Ireland to develop their digital skills in eight key areas and showcase their talent for the chance to win a life changing prize.
Each of the eight categories were sponsored by industry leaders:
Maker Category (WeMo),
Blogger Category (Penguin Random House UK),
Animation Category (NaturalMotion Games),
Games Category (Stick Sports),
Web Development Category (Bin Weevils/55Pixels),
Online Video Category (Sony Music),
Mobile App Development Category (Outfit7)
Music Category (NOW Music).
The Future8 Awards’ panel of expert judges selected the following winners from over 500 entrants. Each winner will receive a life-changing opportunity provided by the category sponsor in question.
The awards ceremony was also supported by goody bag sponsors PopChips, Vita Coco, Penguin Random House UK, WeMo, Sony Music, Belkin, The Guardian, NaturalMotion Games and Outfit7.
Blogger, sponsored by Penguin Random House UK
Amber Kirk-Ford, 16, from Downham Market is the winner of the Blogger category. Amber has been blogging since she was 7 years old and entered with her current blog for which she received a unanimous vote from the Blogger Category judges. Amber will become a Special Correspondent for one of Penguin Random House UK’s prestigious blogs, as well as receiving mentoring sessions with Bethan Barker, award-winning blogger and Senior Digital Marketing Manager at Penguin Random House UK. Amber will also win a huge bundle of fabulous books from Penguin Random House UK authors.
Bethan Barker, Senior Digital Marketing Manager at Penguin Random House UK said “Bloggers are crucial to my role as Senior Digital Marketing Manager; they are the key influencers who share buzz, create hype and put huge amounts of effort into reading, rating and reviewing our books. I am so thrilled to have the opportunity to mentor and work with Amber, who has created an incredibly engaging and innovative bookish blog world with The Mile Long Bookshelf. I look forward to her offering a fresh voice to the Penguin blog and I have a feeling I can learn something from her, as much as she can from me!”
Shannon Cullen, Publisher at Penguin Random House UK and Future8 judge said, “The Future8 Awards are a brilliant way of rewarding talent within schools, and motivating young people to think creatively about digital content. It’s been a pleasure to judge the Blogger category and see the high calibre of entries, which came as no surprise. The Mile Long Bookshelf really stood out to me because of Amber’s distinctive personality that came across in her blogging, and made the posts interesting and funny. I admired her honesty, which brought a level of trust to the site, and the fact she mixed up the reviews with other book-related content, so it was fun too. Plus the layout meant it was very easy to read and navigate – a simple thing that is often overlooked.”
Amber’s mother said, “We’ve watched Amber build her website up from nothing. She puts so much hard work into it, including coding the site and designing her own graphics. We feel she is a very deserving winner and we’re extremely proud of her achievements. This is a very exciting time for Amber, and we are very grateful for the wonderful opportunity Future8 has given her to work with Penguin Random House UK.”