New, Fresh and all About You – Henley Youth Festival 2015

hyf logo 2015Henley Youth Festival has a largely new steering group for 2015, new events and a new look to old favorites. HYF, which offers original art, music, performance and educational activities for young people aged from 4 – 18, will take place from 13th – 22nd March 2015. New joint chairpersons Jo Dickson and Kate Swinburne-Johnson lead a team which includes a new website designer Sarah Haynes – a local parent and co-director of TBDGroup, new stage manager Keri Powell – also a parent and theatre professional – and new Treasurer Sarah Laing.

Plans for 2015 are well underway. With the closure of Henley Youth Centre HYF Gig Night will move to a new venue at Lovibonds Brewery. “No beer for under 18s of course but a great atmosphere and professional sound and lighting. “ explains gig night co-ordinator Jo Eddon. There are plans to include DJ sets during the evening and HYF is working with local DJ Ross Duncan to pull the event together.

The theme for 2015 ‘Me in my world’ has been announced to schools. Jo Dickson says “The HYF website explains it all really: This year’s theme is about me – well, you actually. You and your family, your friends, where you live, what you do, what you love and what you hate. Write about yourself, take selfies, draw yourself, make a video about you and your world. Put yourself at the centre of a dance, a play, a performance. It’s all about you.”

For the first time the HYF charity of the year has been chosen in an online vote by over 200 supporters from a shortlist drawn up by the HYF Steering Group. Voters chose Bishopswood special school as the HYF charity of the year in 2015. Janet Kellett from Bishopswood said, “We were thrilled to hear that Bishopswood School has been chosen to be the Charity for the Henley Youth Festival. At the moment we are fundraising for a school minibus, eye gaze equipment,  specialist seating and music resources so this will be a big help.”

The first sponsors to confirm their support for 2015 include Invesco, Henley Festival Trust, Henley Round Table, Henley Lions Club, HenleyIS, Courtiers, Henley Royal Regatta and Waitrose. Janine FitzGerald, a founder member of HYF and Trustee of Henley Festival said, “The Henley Festival has supported the Youth Festival from its inception over 20 years ago and is very pleased to continue as a sponsor. For some young people the HYF has been the launching pad for future careers in the arts, for many others it’s an opportunity to just take part in new and different activities.” David Bower, Head of Marketing for Invesco Perpetual, commented, “Invesco Perpetual is delighted to be supporting the Henley Youth Festival in 2015. It is a truly unique event providing a huge variety of activities to nurture local talent, an area of focus for our community team.”

Other changes include a new ‘Friends’ scheme which will ask parents and grandparents to support HYF by committing to contribute £25 annually. Sponsorship team co-ordinator Eithne Rosenmeier explains

“ Many parents have told us they would be happy to help support HYF in order to make sure all children in Henley can continue to take part. This scheme offers a simple way for them to do it. More details are on the website or parents can sign up now by emailing”

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