Jamie IS Simon Cowell for YCA fashion show

Last Thursday I ‘volunteered’ to act as a judge for a fashion show organised by the Sheffield-based social enterprise, Youth Can Achieve. I’d like to think that I was asked because of my fashion sense, but it might have more to do with my willingness to pretend to be Simon Cowell for a couple of hours. Either way, it was fun to join ‘Nicole Sherzinger’ – TK Maxx’s Lisa Lombardi – and ‘Cheryl Cole’ – school specialist Rachel Veitch-Straw (no relation!) to choose the winners in the special competition. Students from City School and Silverdale School had worked incredibly hard to create fantastic displays including outfits and props made from recycled materials, set to music and with choreographed dancing too.

I think we were all spellbound by the creativity, commitment and effort that all the students from both schools had made. City School’s Thriller-themed display was a worthy winner but we enjoyed the humour and panache in Silverdale’s display too.

Both Schools won prizes from event sponsor Sheffield Steelers, with City School also taking home vouchers from TK Maxx. The audience won prizes from Youth Can Achieve’s new corporate sponsor the Leopold Hotel and other Sheffield businesses. Up and coming singers Bluey Robinson and Carly Wellington gave performances too. Check them both out – they’re sure to become very well known.

Nikki Sharpe is the founder and CEO of Youth Can Achieve. She praised the hard work that all the YCA volunteers had put in to make the Fashion Show happen: “What an incredible day.  I felt so emotional seeing the wonderful work the young people from both schools had done and the effort and confidence to make the day a total success; it could not have happened without the sponsors, young people, entertainers and support from all our wonderful volunteers, especially Hannah and Jade.  We will do another one next year in November and are already inviting schools to get involved.  The day showcased abilities that young people would not ordinarily show but through this work their skills came to the fore”.

Nikki is right. Give young people the opportunity (and trust) to exercise skills and abilities – and they rise to the challenge. Readers can get in touch with Nikki through me to get involved in YCA’s future work.

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