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Hundreds Of Teens Get Inspired At Free Isle Of Wight Festival

Organisers of a free teen festival say they’re desperate to do it all again after more than 150 gathered for an Easter weekend of learning and inspiration.

The Kingswood Residential Centre at Bembridge in the Isle of Wight 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. 

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.

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 Bembridge.

"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.

“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 April 2 and was one of six such events free events over the weekend, with others taking place in North Wales, South Yorkshire, the North East, Kent and Norfolk.

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.

Bembridge attendee Amber Heed said:

“I managed to fight my anxiety of public speaking and spoke four times in front of a crowd despite my hands shaking.

"I climbed higher than I could have climbed before, and I socialised with new people and had a great laugh. I feel more confident.”

Belle Southgate, another attendee, said:

"I developed really bad social anxiety leading up to this trip and when I got here I made a new friend at the silent disco.

"Then another in the dorms. It was incredibly fun and I have been talking to more people without worrying.

"I've also tried absolutely everything which I am very proud of. This is the proudest I've ever been of myself.”

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