Hundreds of teens get inspired at free South Yorkshire festival

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Organisers of a free teen festival say they’re desperate to do it all again after more than 200 gathered for an Easter weekend of learning and inspiration.

The Kingswood Residential Centre at Dearne Valley in Doncaster was one of six venues across the UK who played host to the Loud Speaker Easter Weekender, an event created to help those aged 15 to 17 learn new social skills, increase their confidence and widen their networks.

In all, more than 1,000 attended all the events, which were the brainchild of Calvin Eden and Oba Akinwale. They founded Loud Speaker in 2019 as a means to provide young people with opportunities to get a better start in life. Calvin’s best friend was tragically murdered when he was aged just 15.

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The Loud Speaker Easter Weekenders were delivered in collaboration with the National Citizen Service (NCS), a non-profit organisation who shares common goals with Loud Speaker in wanting to shape, support and champion young peoples’ contributions to society. They were able to fully fund all places on the weekender, enabling free attendance.

Hundreds of young people gathered for the eventHundreds of young people gathered for the event
Hundreds of young people gathered for the event

Calvin said “We’ve been totally blown away by the energy and positivity of the attendees at our events over the Easter weekend, not least at our session in Dearne Valley. Our aim was always to try to inspire young people aged between 15 and 17 to think positively about their futures, teach them new skills about themselves and life and build their self-confidence so they’re more ready to tackle the world.

“The truth is, I think me, Oba and everyone from Loud Speaker, NCS and Kingswood have been the ones feeling totally inspired. Every single attendee gave it their all and challenged themselves in ways they hadn’t before. It was amazing to see their confidence grow more and more each day.”

The four-day event took place from Good Friday through to Tuesday 2nd April and was one of six such events free events over the weekend, with others taking place in North Wales, the Isle of Wight, the North East, Kent and Norfolk.

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Each of the events hosted a variety of outdoor activities, ranging from archery and climbing, to zip lines and high ropes. Workshops focused on building life, employability and enterprise skills and covered topics such as communication and marketing skills, personal branding and start up business coaching.

Dearne Valley attendee Shafay Memon said “I had a great time, made new friends and enjoyed every second of it! Thank you to the Loud Speaker team for the energy and the hype they bring to life and the thrill into the experience.”