‘I just hope we can inspire as many people as possible’: New Year honour for Balham student

Screams and shouting pierced through a quiet road in Tulse Hill on a dark Sunday night.

A young man lay on the residential street having suffered five stab wounds – to his head, chest, back and legs.

On this night, in May last year, young cadet Sergeant Major Jeremiah Emmanuel (BEM), who lived nearby, responded and used his cadet first aid training.

In the absence of a first aid kit, he used belts, hoodies and t-shirts sourced from shocked onlookers to stop the bleeding.

Staying calm, he looked after the 18-year-old victim, even treating him for signs of shock, until the ambulance arrived.

Now, almost a year on, the pair are working on a campaign to have first aid training included in secondary schools.

Jeremiah, 17, said: “Through that experience I felt that it was so important for young people to get the same understanding of the skills I have learned.

“I am sure that it will have a massive impact if thousands of young people across the UK could have access to that sort of education.”

They are also looking to have schools include mental first aid and teach students how to identify, understand and help a person who may be developing a mental health issue.

The campaign, ‘Life or Death’ will be delivered through Jeremiah’s consultancy company EMNL.

The young army cadet is no stranger to community-impacting projects as he started volunteering at the age of four, when his mother, a youth worker, would take him along to see causes she supported.

He got involved in youth politics, and, at the age of 11, he became the youngest elected member of the youth parliament and went on to be the deputy mayor of Lambeth at 13 years old – representing about 80,000 young people.

His endeavours were recognised in the New Year’s Honours where he was awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to young people and the community.

The talented teenager founded ‘One Big Community’ which engages young people in an effort to find solutions to violence in their communities.

The initiative brings the young together in talks with decision makers and influencers in politics, educational institutions, police and other organisations.

Jeremiah said: “I just hope we can inspire as many people as possible to stand up and say no mater your age, what your background is and no matter where you have grown up, you can achieve this or that in different areas.”

Jeremiah also went on to successfully pitch the idea of the BBC Radio 1 and Radio 1xtra youth council which advises on young live content and live shows.

All this however, has to get done outside of school hours, and the 17-year-old, who attends St Francis Xavier 6th Form College in Balham, is only able to manage through the support of family and friends.

“In everything I have ever achieved, it has never been just me on my own,” he said.

“It is a team effort and I’m just glad to have such great people around me that have supported everything that I have done.”

Not shy of hard work, Jeremiah is looking to tackle the alienation of youth from the corporate message of many multinational companies.

He is currently consulting with Rolls Royce to increase the diversity in their work experience and graduate schemes.

“I really think it is time to bridge the gap between young people and these massive companies that they would probably never have access to until they become adults or are at least much older,” he said.

“It is so important to recognise the value in our diversity, where it doesn’t hold us back, but makes us better.”

He invites other young people with similar visions, who would like to get involved, to get in touch with him on social media.

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