#SpeakOut always and from the heart.

Delighted and was a huge privilage to be asked as a judge once more for the West Midlands regional final of the @SpeakersTrust and #AimhigherWM. 13 incredibly brave and talented students thrust on a stage to speak for up to three minutes on a topic of their choosing demonstrating the huge value of a well structured, organised and confident speech. #SpeakOut

Students gave a range of passionate speeches on topics that illustrated the issues faced by our young adults now- the pressure from social media, mental health, how everyone is okay as they are, how beauty magazines increase the pressure on our youth. It was truly humbling to hear them share their burdens so publicly and vulnerably. If you have a moment, try memorising a three minute speech and imagine reading it out to be judged by complete strangers with lights shining in your face. It is not easy and often the greatest fear of most adults. For them to do this at such a young age on such a public stage is no easy feat.

To have Aimhigher and Speakers Trust support students across schools in the West Midlands post COVID lockdown is a brilliant initiative needed now more than ever. The value of strong oration goes far beyond confidence and a useful life time skill. The views and issues faced by our youth today need listening to, and decision makers in our society we need to remember that they deserve to be heard, supported and encouraged.

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