The Wooden Spoon Luncheon at the Village Hotel in Blackpool is a highlight for businesses across the Fylde Coast. Great food, top entertainment and lots of laughter – all for a good cause. In many ways, this year’s event was no different – apart from one thing: Maddie, our 13-year-old champion who blew the audience away with her story.
The week before Maddie had spoken to a much smaller audience at an event hosted by The Halsall Foundation at Royal Lytham Golf Club on behalf of The Boathouse Youth, but apart from that this was her first experience of speaking to a live audience.
Madison has grown up in the Bloomfield ward of Blackpool and has been through more than her fair share of adverse childhood experiences, which she resiliently referred to as, “just my life”. She took the audience of 400 on an emotional rollercoaster through her experiences of abuse and chronic illness within her family, combined with financial hardship and growing up in the UK’s “most deprived” community, before explaining that it was her involvement in The Boathouse Youth that had kept her on the path to success.
The event raised almost £30,000 for the Lancashire branch of Wooden Spoon, much of which will be redistributed to charities across the county working with children and young people who are suffering some form of disadvantage. In 2013, ‘Spoon funded the renovation of our Bloomfield Youth Centre in the former South Shore Library building on Lytham Road in which we’ve had a base ever since.
Madison’s journey with The Boathouse Youth has provided her with many opportunities and experiences over the last decade. She’s attended 245 sessions in the last 2-years alone and has become accustomed to playing ambassadorial roles for those who don’t yet have the strength to speak up for themselves. She’s been an active participant in our EmpowHER Project in partnership with UK Youth that actively campaigned for accessible sanitary products in schools and single-sex Sex Education lessons.
Maddie was accompanied at the event by staff, volunteers and patrons from The Boathouse Youth. This included two female youth worker chaperones, one of whom said “That was one of the proudest moments of my career. It’s amazing that Maddie can represent us in this way”.