Co-ordinator at Blackburn Youth Zone receives royal recognition for arts

Lancashire Telegraph: Ali Gadema, arts co-ordinator at Blackburn Youth Zone meets The Queen at the inaugural reception for contemporary British Poetry  held at Buckingham Palace Ali Gadema, arts co-ordinator at Blackburn Youth Zone meets The Queen at the inaugural reception for contemporary British Poetry held at Buckingham Palace

BLACKBURN’S Youth Zone has received royal recognition.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh hosted a Contemporary British Poetry reception at Buckingham Palace and handpicked the Zone’s Ali Gadema for an invite to mark his work as a performance poet and educator.

More than 300 guests from all over the country attended the event, the first of its kind and the brainchild of Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy.

The evening of poetry was aimed at highlighting the impact it has on the public.

Mr Gadema, arts co-ordinator at the Youth Zone, said: “It was interesting to witness the opulence of the Palace first hand. I hope that this is a good thing for British poetry and gets more people, especially young people, developing a love of language and a passion for poetry.”

Peter Little, chief executive at Blackburn Youth Zone, said: “The Youth Zone is committed to enabling our members to participate in quality arts experiences and bringing artists like Ali into the Zone to work with our young people.

“We recognise the positive impact the arts can have on inspiring young people and their creativity.

“And as such, we are delighted that Ali has been recognised by Her Majesty the Queen. His talents, which he shares with our members, fires their creativity and produces quality pieces of work such as our royal opening performance for Prince Edward and our first birthday event —the Warehouse Project. And there is much more to come.”

Mr Gadema also backed the Lancashire Telegraph’s campaign to raise £60,000, which will help train 100 Young Leaders, who will volunteer in their local communities, become positive role models to their peers, and gain a qualification at the same time.

He said: “Never in my career as an artist practitioner have I seen an opportunity for a community to back their youth as I have with the Young Leaders’ project.

“The young people we have been working with are already working to benefit the community and with this campaign comes the opportunity for us to make the sky the limit by investing in our future.“

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