Bromley by Bow principal and Mile End community worker recognised in New Year's Honours
PUBLISHED: 10:00 28 December 2019
A music school principal and globe-trotting community worker have been recognised in the New Year's Honours list.
Matthew Otubu from Mile End received a British Empire Medal (BEM) while Charlie Kennard, principal and co-founder of the school, East London Arts and Music (ELAM), scooped an MBE, it was revealed today (December 28).
Charlie, who founded ELAM with brother Will Kennard - of music producing duo Chase & Status - said: "It's a lovely surprise."
A modest Charlie said: "When I saw the letter I thought it was a joke. It's lovely to be acknowledged, but there are people doing equally if not superior work at ELAM than I am."
The 34-year old, honoured for services to youth music, set up ELAM about six years ago following a conversation between the brothers about why so many skilled youngsters don't go on to pursue careers in music.
Music industry demand for more diverse talent and a supply of students who wanted to take the subject beyond Year 11 helped the idea take off.
Based at School 21 in Stratford in its first year, ELAM moved into its purpose-built base in Maltings Close, Bromley by Bow, in 2015.
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Rated outstanding by watchdog Ofsted in 2017, it now has 300 students on roll, 30 staff and has opened a film and television school in Islington.
Matthew's BEM is for voluntary service to young people and communities in this country and Africa.
The 24-year old said: "It feels humbling to be honoured. This stands side by side with the honour of serving my community and making a contribution to others."
The former Queen Mary University law student was singled out for voluntary work at Prince Charles's Step Up To Serve charity and at the non-governmental organisation, Restless Development.
His work has taken him to France, Austria, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Zimbabwe and South Africa.
He has also served on the UK Youth Parliament and as a commisioner for the National Citizen Service Trust youth programme.
While completing his A-levels in Newcastle, the then youth councillor campaigned to stop the council scrapping youth services, saving a respite centre for disabled children from the axe.
On his motivation, Matthew said: "I want to do my part to make life better for the next person."