Yes, I am aware of the absurdity of posting your first major blog a year after your project commences.
But truth be told, a year ago, when we started with little more than a concept, a few facts and in my case, an overworked motormouth, there was no telling what we would be celebrating, or even IF we would be celebrating anything.
We had our first major event at the Leicester Business Festival on 2nd November 2015, presenting to several employees who had flocked to De Montfort University to view our presentation. I remember that morning quite vividly, the most memorable detail my lengthy struggle to avoid keeling over from an asthma attack. But, in between inhaler puffs, I and the other innovative young people sharing their stories managed to deliver something that clearly resonated with them. An even bigger bonus was the management of Highcross Leicester was quite taken with us. Within a few days of the presentation, they contacted us and asked us if we fancied hosting a pop-up shop in Highcross Shopping Centre over the Christmas period.
Given we received this joyous news at such short notice, it of course meant that we had to go all Speedy Gonzales in regards to the planning and preparation, getting props together, booking acts and people to visit… and making sure there was adequate heating in the room. Seriously, it was like living in an igloo for six weeks. The portable radiators became our most valued possessions.
We had several young entrepreneurs coming down to showcase their skills to the public, including famed magician Luca Gallone who had many tricks up his sleeves that still baffle me to this day.
And of course, I was put in charge of our Hidden Talent Consultation wall, with graphics provided by the artistic Tina Barton. It gave me the chance to show the public many of the hidden barriers stopping young people with hidden conditions from finding work. A major benefit of chitting the chat was that they contributed their own understandings of hidden conditions, providing us with contemporary research on the state of HC employment.
After a triumphant – and bloody cold – start to 2016, Hidden Talent has been gaining momentum by integrating itself into various events, such as the Prince’s Trust 40th Anniversary Event, LCIL at Leicester Tiger’s Stadium, Mental Health Awareness Week and Disability Confidence. I like to think Hidden Talent has spent the last year spreading like wildfire… only without the burning.
But our biggest leap to notability is yet to come. Knowing technology is pivotal to paving the way for the future, we are going to take Hidden Talent to the next level using… VIDEO.
No, not the video cassette. Believe it or not, we can differentiate between the cutting-edge and the antiques.
Working with the dynamic Dan Lamoon of Colab Creative, the marvelous Mark Frisby of Talent Match Melton Mowbray, and animation extraordinaire Mair Perkins, we are creating a series of promotional videos that highlight the barriers and positives alike of hidden conditions. It is coming very soon, bursting through the clouds of confusion in the form of a… well, that would be telling. Either way, watch this spot for more info coming soon…
It has been a transformative first year for the Hidden Talent Project. We’ve had some great times and will have some tales to tell the grandkids… if we can withstand the following embarrassment.
Cheers to everyone who has helped to make the project what it is today. The management of Talent Match Leicestershire, the Delivery Partners, anyone willing to give us a leg up, but most of all, the young people with hidden conditions. You all have such unique stories to tell and so much to offer. It has been a privilege to work with all of you and I look forward to continue working with you as Hidden Talent goes from strength to strength.
Here’s to the eccentrics.