Speaking out for young people!

The Jack Petchey Foundation works with Speakers Trust to provide public speaking workshops for groups of young people in Years 9 and 10 in schools in Kent and Essex.  Each school then nominates a student to represent the school and be involved in a competition at local level.  Louise and I have had the privilege of being on the judging panel for these events for many years. 

Unfortunately, the timing of these events has coincided with Covid-19 but Speakers Trust worked hard to adapt to deliver digitally so that no young person had to miss out on the life-changing opportunity to have their voices heard.  Rather than speaking live, young people submitted a film of their speech and participated in a Digital Quarter-Final on Zoom.  Louise and I were lucky enough to be invited onto the judging panel for this innovative event.  We were impressed with the way the technology held up with six judges from across the country and also an on-line audience at each event.  We were, as usual, bowled over with the quality of the students’ speeches, their confidence and the obvious abundance of talent out there.  

It was inspirational and a lovely way to enjoy a couple of hours in the evening but very difficult to come up with a 1st, 2nd and 3rd!  Speakers Trust are hoping to have a ‘live’ Grand Final in the autumn which will be held at the Cambridge Theatre.

Lesley Holland

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