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Alex Rush is a 15-year-old from Rochdale. He believes the media negatively stereotypes young working class lads like him but he’s passionate about making positive change in his community. Alex is a young activist with Manchester-based Reclaim, a youth leadership and social change organisation that supports working-class young people. Alex shares how the pandemic has impacted him as a working class young person. Alex’s parents are both key workers, working on the frontline and Alex asks has enough been done to ensure that key workers are seen as the indispensable workforce they are? Join in the conversation online using #BeingtheStory
Onjali is an award-winning children’s author; her debut book The Boy At the Back of the Class won the Blue Peter’s Children’s Book of the Year 2019 and Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2019. Her second book The Star Outside My Window, focuses on the tragic impacts of domestic violence on the lives of children. Onjali’s third book The Night Bus Hero explores themes of bullying and homelessness, while celebrating kindness. Onjali shares the story behind her book, and how we can take action against homelessness at a time where it’s more important than ever to have a home.  Join in the conversation using #BeingtheStory
Electrician by day, Craig set up Men Unite one morning in 2019 before work. He wanted to give some friends an outlet to speak and not be judged. Men Unite is a closed Facebook group to help men deal with any issues they face; suicidal thoughts, depression, anxiety, addiction, debt, bereavement. They now have over 12,000 members in 78 countries with volunteers around the world so there’s a person available to chat 24 hours a day. In this talk he describes the impact of lockdown on men’s mental health and how online networks like Men Unite are providing a vital connection. Join in the conversation online using #BeingtheStory
7-year-old Nylah had a very memorable experience of lockdown. She performed her poem ‘Black’, inspired by rapper Dave’s song, in front of over 5000 people at the Black Lives Matter protest in Cheltenham. Nylah’s poem centres around self-love and her own experience of being Black with pride. Videos of her performance have been watched by millions, and reposted by celebrities like Missy Elliott and platforms like NAACP, NowThis, BBC, Al-Jazeera. Nylah performs some of her poetry, and speaks to Jude about what it means to be young, gifted and black.  Join in the conversation online using #BeingtheStory
Dom’s 13 year old daughter, Issy, was diagnosed with rare bone cancer in 2011. Issy’s treatment was characterised by two extremes; the fantastic care she received, but also feeling isolated, unable to receive accessible information about what would happen to her. As MD of Corporation Pop, a digital innovation agency, Dom wanted to use his professional skills to address the problem and so his company is building the world’s first healthcare app to use augmented reality, gamification and artificial intelligence to deliver health information directly to children. Xploro App (previously Patient’s Virtual Guide) aims to reduce the stress and anxiety associated with hospitalisation and improve the health literacy of children. Join in the conversation online using #BeingtheStory
Marina is an award-winning journalist who responded to the invasion of Iraq, by collecting narratives of people who’ve lived through injustice and tragedy, yet sought forgiveness not revenge. This formed The Forgiveness Project, a charity using the experiences of victims and perpetrators to explore reconciliation. Marina believes sharing real stories of transformation reaches across rifts to create a new story. This work has led to Marina speaking at the UN and featuring in film documentary Beyond Right and Wrong. In 2015 Marina published her book ‘The Forgiveness Project: Stories for a Vengeful Age’. Join in the conversation online using #BeingtheStory
East-London based Creative Director and Rapper, Ric Flo uses rap to explore his own experience in foster care and create positive change for young people with experience of the care system. Ric uses creative workshops to inspire young people, while creating his own music with Hip-hop Collective Jungle Brown. Ric encourages young people to use their voice, stating “It’s the most powerful tool of amplification we have and in the presence of no fear, anything is possible and I want young people to know that”.  Join in the conversation online using #BeingtheStory
Simeon Moore and Dylan Duffus were members of rival Birmingham gangs. They were brought together by award-winning filmmaker Penny Woolcock for the documentary One Mile Away. Simeon and Dylan are now advocates for young people, working together to tackle what they see as the glamorisation of gang culture through their YouTube channel DatsTV. Simeon and Dylan describe their journeys and the impact participating in the film had on both them and their community. They share their vision of how we can best tackle youth violence and provide young people with an alternative vision. Join in the conversation online using #BeingtheStory
Life begins at 70 chief geezer Ray says. The Geezers are a group of east-end pensioners changing the way we see ageing, creating local change and bringing older men together with fun socialising. They have undertaken numerous intergenerational projects, notably a series of films made with young people in their area, which won an Institute of Community Cohesion award and featured in the Sunday Telegraph. They’re not afraid to bare all with the campaign ‘Where’s My Boozer Gone?’ seeing them produce a ‘naked calendar’ raising awareness about the loss of local pubs. Join in the conversation online using #BeingtheStory
Onjali has been a self declared feminist from the age of seven, specialising in Women’s Studies at the University of Wales and Oxford University. In 2011 her aunt was murdered by the husband she had been trying to escape for five years, highlighting systematic failures in the UK to tackle the abuse of women. Determined to honour her Aunt’s memory, Onjali established Making Herstory, working across the UK supporting women’s shelters and outreach projects. Onjali tells her story of unexpected journeys and why there is no such thing as an action too small. Join in the conversation online using #BeingtheStory
Ignition is a south London brewery, founded by economist Nick O'Shea in 2015 as a not-for-profit organisation with the mission to employ people with learning disabilities and showcase their many talents and undiscovered skills. The team has a lot to offer and with the right support and care, they can make beer that competes on the open market and satisfies the thirst of any customer. Nick shares what it takes to have a new idea and implement it, how to maintain composure and hope, whilst resisting a fridge full of beer. Join in the conversation online using #BeingtheStory
Amanda is representing a collective of twelve women sharing their experiences of street prostitution in Hull. Through their book An Untold Story, they have shared their stories of abuse, pain and loss and also exceptional courage and hope. The stories help shatter stigma and foster understanding for women with similar experiences who face marginalisation. The women’s stories have now gone on to be featured in the media including BBC World Service, BBC Woman’s Hour and The Big Issue. Join in the conversation online using #BeingtheStory
Originally from Angola, Belmira came to the UK from Portugal and settled in Newcastle. She has been volunteering with The Comfrey Project for 10 years, which works with refugees and asylum seekers on allotment sites across Newcastle and Gateshead. Belmira manages the garden at one of the sites, improving her English. It’s all in her name - Belmira means ‘nice view’ in her native language. When she’s in the garden she forgets the time and forgets her problems. Belmira believes we could all gain a lot from getting involved in the outdoors.   Join in the conversation online using #BeingtheStory
Steve and Dave are united by their love of Hip-hop which had a huge impact on their lives, and motivated them to co-found the Hull Beats Bus with Nigel Taylor. The Beats Bus is a mobile recording studio building confidence through music and art. They’re bringing creative workshops to children across Hull who wouldn’t normally be able to access the arts, being deemed ‘hard-to-reach’. The Beats Bus is changing the lives of the children involved and Steve and Dave want to encourage more arts-based education to help young people thrive.      Join in the conversation online using #BeingtheStory  
Dan Dewsbury is a BAFTA-nominated Director with a strong belief that the issues raised in documentaries can lead to real change.Dan shares how he started his career on a BBC traineeship programme and has worked on Louis Theroux, Storyville, The Detectives, Crime and Punishment, Hospitaland The Mighty Redcar.That series –exploring the inequality of opportunities for young people in Redcar-won two Royal Television Society awards. He talks about the sense of responsibility he feels to accurately portray people’s lives, often filming them at crucial and intimate moments of their lives
When Jonny Benjamin talks, people stop and listen. Jonny is a mental health campaigner, writer and presenter. He shares his story, being diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, a combination of schizophrenia and depression at the age of 20. During his recovery Jonny started making YouTube films about the condition that have been watched by hundreds of thousands of people across the globe. Jonny now speaks publicly about living with mental illness and has given various interviews on TV, Radio and in print around the world to help educate and break stigma. Join in the conversation online using #BeingtheStory
Brigitte Aphrodite is a Punk Poet, Musician, Writer, Theatre Maker and Feminist Showgirl. Brigitte will discuss how performance can be used in mental health education  and will be performing a selection of songs and poems from her critically  acclaimed musical ‘My Beautiful Black Dog’ which tackles the complexity of our mental  health and challenges the stigma that surrounds depression - but it’s not depressing – it’s joyous, funny and hopeful. Brigitte has performed at Reading and Leeds Festivals, Latitude, Bestival and sold out runs at the South Bank WOW festival and Hackney Showroom.    Join in the conversation online using #BeingtheStory  
Emma shares her story being diagnosed with young onset Parkinson’s Disease at only 29. Emma has made it her mission to raise awareness of Parkinson’s and fundraise for Parkinson’s UK. This journey has taken her from an unexpected diagnosis to winning awards and being featured in ‘Cosmopolitan’, where she reached out to other young  women. Through her social media campaigning, Emma has done so much to raise the profile of this condition and believes that having Parkinson’s was the making of her.    Join in the conversation using #BeingtheStory 
Sue`s mantra is “find the story and give the client a voice”. A housing solicitor for 25 years she runs a busy court housing duty scheme, providing last-minute help to people facing eviction or repossession. Sue shares her belief that in order to find solutions, it’s important to know someone’s story so you can properly advocate on their behalf and ensure they get access to justice. She sets a challenge to those in positions of power to put a spotlight on what is happening to some of the most vulnerable in our society. Join in the conversation online using #BeingtheStory
Andiamo was founded after husband and wife Naveed and Samiya had their son Diamo in 2003. He had a difficult birth due to medical negligence leading to Cerebral Palsy and sadly passed away in 2012. They share their journey; how their difficult personal experience finding orthic braces for their son spurred them on to revolutionise orthotics technology to ensure that no child anywhere in the world must wait more than a week for their medical device. They drive forward through empathy, designed around the child and their family.  Join in the conversation online using #BeingtheStory 
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