Hear from former Vlogstar Hull participants Luke and Jack

Luke Danaher

A bit about me...

My name is Luke Danaher, I am 22 years old and I have grown up, volunteered, and now work as a staff member with the young people’s charity Freedom Road Creative Arts along after having joined in late 2011. At the time, I was referred to them by my social worker due to my diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome, a high functioning form of autism, along with a. low self-confidence and esteem. After being introduced to the charity and it’s performing arts workshops through singing, musical instrumentation, drama and dance, I was able to successfully transition from being a timid 13 year old who would use his hands to block his face from any form of social contact by all means to a young adult who is, along with awaiting the result of a postgraduate MSc degree in Mathematics from The University of Leeds, is hosting a Hull local radio show with my close friend, Jack Thompson, who has grew up through the charity.

My experiences with Freedom Road Creative Arts

Being a part of Freedom Road Creative Arts has presented me with countless opportunities that I couldn’t turn myself away from. My difficulty was always being afraid to take the leaps necessary. From taking such leaps of faith however, it had granted myself experiences of a lifetime, ones that I was able to learn more about myself from. Such an example was when I was offered, with the accompaniment of another charity staff member, the chance to travel to Sydney Australia in August 2017 to host a song writing workshop with the country’s children in care that attended a 3 day ‘Voices in Action’ Conference that was hosted by the Create Foundation. The volunteer and I were successful in advocating the voices of young people through a song that we had all wrote and performed together on the final day of the conference and it was an experience that I will never forget.

What I got from Vlogstar Hull

From August to September earlier this year, I also participated in a project called Vlogstar Hull, where for a month I joined online Zoom sessions with other charities and young people to be coached on creating vlogs and presenting ourselves. These weren’t just any vlogs, but these were based on the meaning of a healthy and dependable relationship and what it means to me. I chose my relationship to be defined by the charity itself that I grew up with and how much it has changed my life for the better. Coming out of this project, Vlogstar had not only taught me how to communicate digitally through a recording, but it also laid the foundations for myself and Jack to implement vlogging into current projects that Freedom Road Creative Arts are setting in motion. One of these projects also focuses on the theme of a healthy and dependable relationship and we look forward to seeing where it goes.

A passion for radio

As well as this new project, Vlogstar did contribute to my own and Jack’s confidence levels on the radio. Although vlogging’s not involved, the presentation coaching had allowed us to be aware about how we sound on air, such as being able to reduce the number of filler words that we speak. It was enough to have not only been asked to talk about Vlogstar on BBC Radio Humberside in September, but myself and Jack were also called in to co-host with Martha (a presenter) on a 9pm show in October for 30 minutes discussing our song choices that describe the pop culture of our time. I certainly would like to be involved in more radio outlets and opportunities in the near future, and Vlogstar had contributed a great deal to that interest as I am sure Jack can equally say. These last 10 years for me and Jack had in itself formed more than just a healthy and dependable relationship between us; it has formed an unbreakable brotherhood.

Jack Thompson

How I got involved with Vlogstar Hull and meeting Luke

I became involved with Vlog Star through Freedom Road Creative Arts (FRCA), and Cornerhouse. I’ve been with FRCA for 13 years and throughout that time I have met many people; supporting adults, peers and friends, who with, I have formed long lasting Healthy Dependable Relationships.

I first met Luke when we were very young and throughout the years of being involved with FRCA I have formed a “Brotherly Bond” with Luke. I see him has family. I can trust Luke and I can talk openly with him, sharing my thoughts and feelings. This is something, which before joining the charity, talking to peers was difficult.

I wasn’t so open due to my experience of bullying and confidence issues but engaging with Luke and other peers of the charity it has really brought me out of my shell and made me a different person.

What Vlogstar Hull taught me?

During the Vlogstar project, I learnt how to use camera angles and positions and also gained confidence behind the camera, new skills which Luke and I use in running the FRCA new Youtube channel.

The Project has also given me an understanding of the meaning of Healthy Dependable Relationships and the part they play in our lives, and I’ve used these new skills and knowledge to help others.

Following the Premiere of the films, Luke and I were given the opportunity to share our experiences on Radio Humberside’s “No Filter” programme with Martha Mangan. Following this, Martha invited us back to co-present part of the BBC Humberside programme called “Pop Culture”. For this we had to choose and present 5 songs that have influenced us.

Moving forwards

The whole experience has given me lots more confidence in my abilities. Luke and I have been presenting our own radio show on West Hull Radio, however most recently, as my confidence in myself continues to grow, I am presenting my own show.

I feel I have a future in media, and I am eager to continue learning and trying new opportunities that come my way.

My message to people would be that; if you are given opportunities to take part in projects which may seem a little out of your comfort zone; try and pluck up the courage to give it a go; take the opportunity to meet new people and take the help and guidance from others. They could have a big impact on your lives, like they have for me.

Our Corporate Partners

We enjoy outstanding support from the media industry. Our partners include: