Don't say cheese, please!

Aylesbury-based charity Youth Concern is inviting young people across the Vale to take part in its #nosmileselfie competition. It runs for four weeks.

The competition is to promote the launch of Youth Concern’s photo drop-in, which will start on 10 June at their drop-in centre, the Uptown Coffee Bar.  Given by qualified photographer, Carole Niven, this will comprise a series of free sessions where young people will have the chance to learn creative and technical photography skills.  All sessions will keep to Covid-safe regulations.

The charity’s says that pop star Tony Hadley, will be one of the judges of the competition.  He is a Bucks resident and a DJ on BBC Three Counties radio.  He said: ‘I know Aylesbury well and Youth Concern do amazing work supporting disadvantaged young people.  Giving young people an opportunity to experience creative activities, like photography, is so important and I was thrilled to be asked to get involved.’

The #nosmileselfie competition will run until the 30 April, open to anyone between 13 and 25. Entrants will be invited to take a selfie on their phone where they are deliberately not smiling.  Instead, they will be asked to capture an image of themselves exploring a different emotion and using the environment around them to take an interesting and thought-provoking photograph.

Youth Concern’s CEO, Hannah Asquith, said: ‘We wanted to do something a bit different to raise awareness of our new drop-in photography project and, at the same time, to recognise that young people are going through extremely tough times. 

‘The pandemic has hit many young people hard and photography can be a great way of expressing emotions. We’re excited to be offering new creative experiences and opportunities for Aylesbury Vale’s 13-25 year olds.’

There will be three competition categories – ages 13-15, 16-18 and 19-25. The overall winner will receive a GoPro Hero9 camera and the winners of the other two categories will each win £50 Amazon vouchers.

The competition is sponsored by Alcom IT who provide IT, networking and telecoms services to businesses. Karma Almosawi, co-founder and Finance Director, said: ‘Although we work across the UK, being part of our local community in Aylesbury is really important to Alcom IT.

‘We are delighted to encourage young people to express their emotions through the #nosmileselfie competition – which will hopefully generate interest for Youth Concern’s on-going photo drop-in sessions.”

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