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Teenagers urged to get creative as poetry helps wellbeing

A new initiative is encouraging teenagers across Swansea and Neath Port Talbot to get creative and better understand the effects of the pandemic.

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The Find Your Words competition invites those aged 13-16 to submit their own poetry based on their reflections on 2020.

It's being organised by mental health charity Platfform and Swansea Council's Dylan Thomas Service.

Robert Francis-Davies, the council's cabinet member for investment, regeneration and tourism, said: "This is a great chance for young people to have their voices heard.

"It's a positive initiative for them to get involved with and I encourage young people to get creative.

"It's another example of the third sector and the council being here for Swansea."

Natalie Coombs, young people's coach at Platfform's 4YP Swansea Bay, said: "2020 was a tough year to be a teenager. The effects of lockdowns on young people's education, mental health and overall wellbeing have been overwhelming and often difficult for them to make sense of.

"I hope that Find Your Words gives young people the chance to personally reflect on how 2020 impacted them and to get their feelings out of their heads and onto paper.

"It's also a great opportunity to connect with other young people through shared experiences, which I hope will encourage conversations about young people's mental health across Swansea Bay."

The competition is open to those aged 13-16 living in Swansea or Neath Port Talbot.

Entries can be in English or Welsh.  Any style of poetry is welcome and entries should fit on an A4 page.

They will be judged by Natalie Coombs, Swansea poet Natalie Ann Holborow and Swansea Council literature officer Jo Furber.

Prizes include a £100, £50 and £25 gift vouchers and a wellbeing pack.

Platfform aim to create video creations of the three best poems and to have the top three published in the South Wales Evening Post.

Entries can be submitted until the end of February 14. They should be emailed to youngpeople@platfform.org.

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