Xplode Magazine CEO Saeed Atcha was left in a state of stunned disbelief after winning the Young Person of the Year Award for the second time in three years at The Bolton News and Bury Times Business Awards last Thursday.
The driving force and founder of Xplode Magazine—a Bolton charity which helps and educates young people—was presented with the accolade by Peter Emerson Jones, chairman of the Emerson Group.
Saeed said he was “absolutely gobsmacked” to have been chosen by the judges. He said:
“I really didn’t think I would win, there was very stiff and healthy competition and there are so many young people doing fantastic things across Bolton. “I’m absolutely honoured, but for me this award is for my team, without them I wouldn’t be where I am. I’m going to rename the award the ‘Young People of the Year’!”
Mr Atcha, is also a trustee of Step Up to Serve, the Prince of Wales’ charity that aims to get 1.5million young people into volunteering. And he was given the royal seal of approval when he received a message from the Queen wishing him good luck on the night. Not content with receiving a message from Royalty, Prime Minister Theresa May also sent her best wishes.
Mr Atcha said: “When I opened the post I was absolutely amazed and humbled beyond recognition. “You never expect the Queen to offer her ‘warm good wishes’ for an awards ceremony – or the Prime Minister.”
And Mr Atcha, who is the youngest CEO of a charity to receive the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, said the award had given the Xplode team a chance to reflect. “I think it is healthy to look back at all the achievements and appreciate we have actually come quite far.
Xplode has plans to train 10,000 young people in Greater Manchester in employability skills to make them ready for the working world.