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YMCA calls on young people to talk about face coverings

11th June 2020
Posted by Johnny Jenkins

With face coverings becoming compulsory on public transport from Monday June 15, Southend YMCA has launched a competition aimed at inspiring young people to design their own.

The Face It competition encourages young people to get creative with their face coverings throughout the month of June, with prizes on offer for the winner. The project aims to spark a conversation about face coverings and how young people feel about having to wear one.

Sascha Edwards, project lead for Find Your Voice (FYV), said:

“We want young people to feel comfortable wearing a face covering and to understand the reasons why it’s important to protect not only themselves but others too”

The competition is the brainchild of Stylist and Costume Designer Lydia Kovacs, who has worked on music videos with stars such as Katy Perry and Little Mix and is currently volunteering with Southend YMCA.

Lydia Kovacs said:

“During the pandemic, I saw my industry come to a standstill overnight. I wanted to put my time and skills to good use by volunteering for a local organisation. The YMCA, in particular, appealed to me as I am passionate about helping young people reach their full potential and being involved with an organisation that values creative projects as part of that journey.“

Entries will be judged by a panel including Lydia and led by Fashion Historian Amber Butchart, presenter of BBC series A Stitch in Time. The winner will receive a £100 Love2shop voucher and see their face covering design become reality. 

Lydia continued:

“Amber was interested in this project as her specialism is in the intersections between dress, politics and culture. She believes clothing can be a great conduit to tell stories about the past. No doubt when we look back at this period of time, the symbol of the face-covering will become a topic for fashion research in the future. The importance of communication through clothing seemed very apt for this project and therefore a perfect collaboration.”

Face It is part of a wider initiative by Southend YMCA which aims to provide young people with the platform they need to take a hands-on role in community issues affecting them.

FYV is funded by the National Lottery Community Fund and runs online and on social media platforms. Along with listening to concerns and aspirations, the project has been structured to provide young people with the skills and resources they need to take a proactive role in making a real difference to their community. The ultimate aim of FYV is to inform policies and create social action groups that can help tackle issues that young people are passionate about.

Rachel Roach, Young Commissioner for FYV added:

“We want to get every young person who wants to play an active role in the community to make a change for their peers and upcoming generations.

“We can recruit young people, find out what their passions are, train them up and help them to have their voices heard and make a real difference in their community.”

FYV is open to young people between the ages of 10 and 24-years-old, providing them with the platform they need to collaborate and create opportunities to take positive action.

The project can be found on Facebook, Tik Tok and Instagram and online at Use the ‘sign up’ button to express an interest. Alternatively, email [email protected].

The Face It competition is open to young people aged between 8 and 24-years-old. Details on how to enter can be found at on the FYV Facebook page @FYVfindyourvoice

The competition closes on Sunday June 28 with the winner announced on Sunday July 5.

Image: Southend YMCA