The founder and managing director of Comics Youth CIC, Rhiannon Mair Griffiths received an MBE in the King's Birthday Honours list.
Rhiannon, 33, founded CY in 2015 after realising comics were a ‘progressive way to get young people to communicate’.
The organisation helps young people experiencing chronic illness, depression, anxiety and low self-esteem through workshops, one-to-one graphic narrative sessions, drop-ins, youth led publishing hubs and AQA Award Scheme programmes. It works with 200 to 300 young people a week.
In 2021, Rhiannon started ‘Listen Up’, an activism programme to mentor and upskill young people. When Covid struck, Rhiannon was quick to act, creating online sessions and outlets for young people to talk about mental health, including a radio station and a 24/7 forum where over 500 young people engaged. She also managed afoodbank, crisis line and hand packed over 5,000 creative care packages for young people across her region.
She is an advocate for the voices of young marginalised people and the lack of lived experience represented in positions of power.
She encourages youngsters to explore creative avenues of interest, enabling children and young people to become active learners and content creators, whilst also developing literacy, improving their ability to decode text, infer meaning and make logical connections. An example of this is ‘The Graphic Medicine Project’, a partnership between Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and Comics Youth that delivers a range of comics based on autobiographical narrative sessions for chronic and terminally-ill children.
She has also developed the first young person-led publishing house of its kind in the UK. Marginal trained 15-20 young people to have their voices heard through professionally designing, curating and mass printing stories.
Rhiannon said: “I feel very humbled by this recognition when I look at the exceptional work done by my peers across the youth sector within this current climate. This is as much about the resilient young people I work with and my colleagues who always go above and beyond to support the needs of marginalised youth. I am incredibly proud to be the co-founder of CY and to witness first-hand the power that comics have in changing a young person’s life.”