2020 has been a year like no other. With the coronavirus pandemic bringing uncertainty and lockdowns, the racial unrest in the United States highlighting continued injustice, and the climate crisis affecting many parts of the world, most people will be glad to see the back of the past year.
At Platfform 4YP Swansea Bay, we have heard young people’s thoughts, feelings and opinions on 2020, and seen the effects it has had on young people’s mental health and wellbeing. We believe that young people should have a forum to reflect, express their feelings and connect with others who have been in similar situations over the past 12 months. This is where the idea for ‘Find Your Words’ was born!
‘Find Your Words’ is a poetry competition run by Platfform 4YP in collaboration with The Dylan Thomas Centre in Swansea. It is open to any young person in Swansea, Neath and Port Talbot aged 13-16 who wants to get their voice heard!
For our first year, we ask entrants to write a poem that encapsulates the theme ‘Reflections on 2020’. There are many topics that can come under this theme, including:
- COVID-19 and lockdowns.
- Racism and protest.
- Climate change.
- How 2020 has affected people’s mental health.
You may choose to write a poem on just one of those topics, all four, or something completely different! We want to hear YOUR feelings and opinions. With this in mind, we will be accepting entries in both English and Welsh. As long as your poem doesn’t exceed a page of A4, you have the freedom to write any style of poem.
Entries will open at 7am on the 4th of January 2021 and close on Sunday, February 14th 2021, and they are to be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Your poems will be judged by Natalie Coombs, a Young People’s Coach at Platfform 4YP, Jo Furber, the Literature Officer for Swansea Council, and we are so excited to have Natalie Ann Holborow on the judging panel, who is an acclaimed Swansea poet!
There are many exciting prizes up for grabs for the top three entrants, including:
- Amazon vouchers (1st – £100, 2nd – £50, 3rd – £25).
- Wellbeing boxes.
- A stack of books for you and your school.
- A video illustration of your poem.
- A feature in the South Wales Evening Post
- A feature in Platfform 4YP’s end of year festival.
We really hope that ‘Find Your Words’ gives young people the chance to personally reflect on how 2020 impacted them and to get their feelings out of their heads and onto paper. It’s also a great opportunity to connect with other young people through shared experiences, which we hope will encourage conversations about young people’s mental health across Swansea Bay.
So if you would like to get involved with this exciting new competition, make sure to get your entries in by February 14th! We are very much looking forward to reading your entries and finding some young poets of the future!
Over the six weeks that the competition will be running, we will be writing blogs on the importance of creativity and expression when it comes to looking after your mental health, so be sure to look out for those too.
Young People’s Coach and ‘Find Your Words’ judge.