Youth Speaks Competition 2018/19

The 2018 District 1285 Youth Speaks competition was our biggest ever with 44 teams entered. The feedback from participants has been hugely positive, and reveals the valuable impact of Youth Speaks on the young people involved.

Rotary District 1285


2019 Youth Speaks Competition Details

Here is the timetable for the 2019 Youth Speaks competition. There are 6 heats and winners of each heat go forward to the District Final. 

1st December 2018

Closing date for entries


District Heats & Finals


Lymm District Heat

Statham Lodge Hotel, Warrington Rd, Lymm WA13 9BP, 6.15 p.m. Wednesday, 16th January 2019 (Host - Lymm Rotary)

Macclesfield District Heat

The Macclesfield Academy, Park Lane, Macclesfield, SK11 8JR, 5.30 p.m., Tuesday, 22nd January 2019, (Host - Macclesfield Castle Rotary)

Rochdale District Heat

Falinge Park High School, Falinge Rd, Rochdale OL12 6LD, 6.30 p.m., Thursday, 24th January 2019 (Host - Rochdale Rotary)

Wigan District Heat

St John Rigby College, Gathurst Rd, Orrell, Wigan, WN5 0LJ, 6.00 p.m., Tuesday, 5th February 2019 (Host - Wigan Rotary)

Bolton District Heat

Sharples School, Hill Cot Rd, Bolton BL1 8SN, 6.30 p.m., Wednesday, 6th February 2019 (Host - Bolton with le Moors Rotary)

Leigh District Heat

Bedford High School, Manchester Rd, Leigh WN7 2LU, 6.45 p.m., Thursday, 7th February 2019, (Host - Leigh Rotary)

Rotary District 1285 Final

Forest Hills Hotel, Overton Hill, Frodsham, WA6 6HH, Sunday, 3rd March 2019

Regional Final

Saturday 16th or 23rd March (TBC) (Hosted by Rotary District 1180)

National Final

This is organised by and held at the Rotary Annual Showcase in Nottingham on Saturday 11th May 2019.


All the information about the competition is to be found in the Information Pack.  (Click to download.) This will be updated at least once per term, so always check here find the latest version (currently the July update).

Application details are on page 8 and entry forms on page 10. Entries can be made from now until 1st December 2018. To enter you only need to say how many teams you intend to have and whether they are intermediate or senior level. Places in the heats are allocated first come first served, so to get the heat of your choice it is advisable to apply as soon as you decide to enter a team. Team and topic details will not be needed until 14th December 2018.

The feedback we had from the 2018 competition is interesting reading and shows the value of Youth Speaks. Not only do the young people involved benefit personally, they also have a wider impact as role models for their peers. 

Click to download the summary Youth Speaks Feedback 2018. 

Here is a glowing comment from Rachel Oxley, Principal, Tower College

“Tower College has been pleased and privileged to participate in the Rotary Youth Speaks competitions since the early 1990’s. Children of all ages benefit; when the younger competitors see the sixth form teams, they have excellent role models.

Over the years we have travelled far and wide, competing and getting through the rounds, in venues from St Helens and Bury, to Frodsham and North Wales, and on one occasion to London for the finals, gaining the National Best Speaker Award.

I have heard many memorable presentations, some poignant, some humorous, but all well-articulated, thought provoking and at a very high level. I well remember the girl who spoke, over 10 years ago, about the importance of fitting smoke alarms as her family had just survived a house fire. She moved us all when describing her twin brothers’ beds, side by side, covered in soot, with the two outlines of where they had lain before being rescued.  I still have a mental image of that whenever we talk about Youth Speaks.

We have seen pupils discuss current issues over the two decades, describing moments in time, and never shying away from difficult topics; terrorism, mental health issues, care of the elderly, environmental issues, racism, school shootings, prejudice, anorexia, obesity, gambling, alcohol and drug addictions, and a recent favourite of mine – Bolton School Girls’ team recently spoke about the necessity of financial education in schools.  The team made such an impact that I have introduced Financial Literacy to our Curriculum. Rotary’s slogan ‘Making a difference’ was certainly true on that occasion.

There are many debating societies which have an equally important but different role. Our teams enjoy debating societies in school, ours is called TOWIE – The Only Way Is Ethics, and the National Model United Nations competitions which are an excellent forum for debate and give youngsters a world-wide outlook. But Youth Speaks is a unique opportunity for pupils to gain and hone their presentation and life skills which are so important as they move on through University into the workplace and to take up causes throughout their lives.


I retire from my school in July after 25 years as Principal and 38 years working in education. Looking back over those years, I can honestly say that Rotary Youth Speaks has made a huge difference to my pupils, not just the teams, but their supporters in school, for which I am profoundly grateful. “

Here is an interesting quotation from a former competitor as an example. 

From Amanda Couzens-Davies, Marketing Director of Christy UK

"Youth Speaks was an amazing opportunity, I took part when I was at Hartford High School and I subsequently went on to do further public speaking at Sir John Deane's sixth form. Whilst at Hartford High I recall attending a dinner with the Rotary Club at Wincham Hall I think it was a winners dinner as I remember we won and had a silver trophy.  I was the main speaker on the team.  I loved drama and also attended Cheshire Youth Theatre taking part in the Chester Mystery Plays and also Manchester Youth Theatre. Therefore I learnt my speech like an acting piece so that I didn't need my prompt cards and could talk freely and in a natural unrehearsed way despite knowing my speech inside out and back to front!  I definitely believe that Youth Speaks helped me to get to where I am today." 


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