Leona Lewis, Plan B and Eastenders actor Ricky Norwood launch Radio 1’s inspirational academy in Hackney

12:41 10 May 2012

Superstar singer Leona Lewis and rapper Plan B launched an inspirational three-week educational programme to inspire young people across Hackney this morning.

The Radio 1 and 1Xtra Academy is the station’s biggest ever programme of social action and outreach, which will offer up to 10,000 young people aged 15-19 across Hackney and beyond the chance to gain skills and experience and to be inspired by leading people in their fields.

Opening in the run up to Radio 1’s Hackney Weekend – a massive music festival on Hackney Marshes – the Academy will feature a host of leading names from the worlds of music, business, film, radio, fashion, comedy, gaming and software and journalism.

Based at the Picturehouse in Mare Street, rappers Labrinth, Dizzie Rascal, Rizzle Kicks, Lethal B, actors Ashley Walters, Adam Deacon, singers Paloma Faith, Riz Ahmed and Ricky Norwood, and DJs Fearne Cotton, Gemma Cairney and Trevor Nelson are all confirmed to take part.

From June 1 to 22, they will all take part in a range of masterclasses, Q&A and panel sessions to explain how they have made it, and to offer advice.

Ricky Norwood, the Eastenders’ actor who plays Fatboy said he would do as many Q&A sessions and workshops as his schedule allows: “I hope to show these kids that are from the block, around the corner, and from the hood round the alleyway that you don’t have to be a product of your environment, you can get where you want to get to.

“I’m from Forest Gate and no one told me I would eventually break out and be on Eastenders, I thought it was an unreachable dream but I reached it with a lot of determination, and by taking on opportunities like these three weeks, they need to jump up and get involved because otherwise you don’t know what you’re going to miss out on in life, it’s coming to Hackney and there aren’t any excuses.

“I think I would have gone crazy if this went on when I was younger, I think I would have been the first at the door every single day,” said the 23-year old.

“This doesn’t come round every day, and we’re actually coming to you, everyone is here for the same purpose to precipitate it, because they believe in the same message.”

The Academy will also feature a range of other practical workshops and sessions as well as the chance to speak to careers advisors on site with advice on CVs and interview skills.

Young people will take part through their schools, colleges and youth groups.

People can also register interest by emailing: takeiton@bbc.co.uk

The sessions include:

• Music sessions on how to create your own music and promote it,

• Radio sessions on how to create your own radio broadcast with advice on scriptwriting and interview techniques. Young people taking part in the music sessions will also get the opportunity to broadcast to the nation as part of a BBC Radio 1Xtra Take It On day, taking the reins on 1Xtra for a whole day on Saturday 16 June.

• Business sessions on the basics of setting up your own business, how to pitch, market and sell and a special Hackney Dragons Event where young entrepreneurs can pitch for investment from our very own Hackney Dragons.

• Fashion sessions on t-shirt design, fashion styling and fashion photography. T-shirts designed by young people at the Academy will be judged by a panel of fashion experts with the winning designs sold as a limited edition Radio 1 Hackney Weekend t-shirt.

• Film sessions on scriptwriting for EastEnders and beginners sessions on producing, directing, editing and camera and sound work. Participants who have completed all film beginners workshops will get the opportunity to make a Hackney themed spoof film, to be shown on the main stage big screen at the Radio 1 Hackney Weekend.

• Games and software sessions on developing your own app and building your own website.

• Comedy sessions on developing your own stand up as well developing ideas for stage and TV.

• Journalism sessions including how to write and get published. The Hackney Gazette will provide a master class in which students will produce a supplement in the following week’s edition.

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