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Posted 08.01.18

MBE awarded to Plymouth College of Art Honorary Fellow

By Kat Peberdy

Image courtesy One Plymouth: Toby and Jo launching the plans for their Crowdfunder campaign

Honorary Fellow and founder of Plymouth-based CIC Street Factory Toby Gorniak has been awarded an MBE in the 2018 New Year's Honours list for his work with young people, which includes volunteering in 46 schools and performing for more than 100 charities in Plymouth.

In 2013 he was awarded an Honorary Fellowship from the college for his efforts in raising awareness of dance as a transformative art practice, promoting community responsibility and equality in the city. He has since won several awards including the Volunteer of the Year Award and a Health Lottery Award.

Toby said, "I'm blown away to be recognised nationally and by the royals for the work that we do for the community, we're honoured to be going to meet them.

"I want to extend a big thank you to the people of Plymouth for supporting us, myself and my wife Jo, and the work that we do through Street Factory."

The pair's work has had a significant impact on young people in the city, helping them find positive solutions to issues such as racism, domestic violence, bullying, and low self-esteem. By using all the discipline, commitment and creativity in performance by which street dance connects with youth experience he works with them to make a difference, and to make change.

Toby's wife and partner in Street Factory, Jo Gorniak, commented,  "We're overwhelmed, the kids are most excited about their dad going to meet the queen. We've got so many plans for the future, this is only the beginning.

"We're currently crowdfunding for a new community focused, transformational hip-hop kingdom. With support from Building Plymouth, we aim to create an iconic building in the city with a legacy."