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Manchester EdTech appoints North West agencies to launch writing contest backed by Malala Yousafzai


Greater Manchester-based agencies In My Experience and Be The Best Communications have been appointed by EdTech platform Connected Creatives to launch the Malala Yousafzai Creative Writing Competition.

It takes the form of a 500-word writing contest, open to more than 4,000 schools across Britain, providing a creative outlet for young people struggling with the impact of COVID-19 on their education and mental health. It’s backed by backed by Malala Yousafzai, the campaigner for educational equality and the youngest ever recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, who wrote her own blog aged 11 about girls’ right to an education.

Stockport’s In My Experience, which is led by Helena Banfield, is providing marketing and social media support, while Ancoats-headquartered Be The Best Communications, founded by Chris Walker, is providing PR support for the launch of the Competition.

Both agencies are only a few years old but have extensive relevant experience – In My Experience with not-for-profit and community led initiatives, and Be The Best with technology and education organisations.

Connected Creatives is a new education technology platform that is free for schools, teachers, and pupils. It allows young people to self-publish stories, graphic novels, poems and more, and get feedback from teachers and peers.

Helena Banfield, founder of In My Experience, said: “We’re thrilled to be launching this creative writing competition. As communications professionals, we understand exactly how important creativity and writing skills are for the workplace, and as part of the not-for-profit sector we also know the positive impact it has in promoting good mental health and happiness.”

Chris Walker, founder and director of Be The Best Communications, added: “This campaign is very close to our hearts. This year has been particularly difficult for school students who have missed out on learning and been isolated from support networks, and for the creative industries, which have suffered from more than 400,000 job losses, business closures, leading to a diminishing number of creative opportunities for young people.

“Connected Creatives will provide a much-needed outlet for children to use their imagination, express themselves, and showcase their talents.”

Educationalist Dr. Yasmin Hussain, founder of Connected Creatives and Faculty Outreach Manager at Manchester Metropolitan University, said: “Working with two agencies allows us to reach more people as we spread the word about Connected Creatives. It was immediately clear that both agencies understand our mission and are passionate about educational equality and providing opportunities for young people. I’m thrilled to be working with them as we launch the campaign. 

“We are all so excited to have Malala on board for this competition. Not only does she tirelessly campaign for educational rights and believe in the importance of creativity in learning, she is the perfect example of how the voice of one child can create positive change worldwide.”

Malala Yousafzai said: “Almost one billion girls and young women are missing out on vital education and skills. Writing and storytelling have been essential in my fight to improve educational equality and the rights of girls to learn.

“Every child has a story to tell. The Connected Creatives competition sums up exactly why I became an activist in the first place – young voices really do matter, but too often they’re ignored or silenced.”

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