Rick and Gemma ©vInspired Live - Change Something

Rick and Gemma ©vInspired Live - Change Something

Rick Edwards and Gemma Cairney are two of the most exciting young presenters out there, and they’ve joined forces to host the vInspired Live, a youth charity even that they hope will stir

We spoke with Rick, Gemma and VInspired’s CEO Terry Ryall about the event and much more.


So, what can you tell us about vInspired Live?

Terry: Think KitKat Chunky flavours meets The Voice.

Rick: That was just our brief really, take that concept and run with it. (All three laugh)

Terry: What we’re really doing is we’re getting you people to put together ideas for a campaign to change something that they think needs changing in the world. We’ll then whittle down the entrants to a shortlist of about three to six and those campaigns will all be allocated a celebrity mentor who will help work on the campaign.

The event itself is taking place at The Roundhouse in Camden and we’re anticipating on getting about one and half thousand young people (between 14 to 25) who want to make a difference along to there. We’re not just interested in what happens on the day though, we’re interested in what happens afterwards and we’re going to be giving these volunteers proven skills that employers are looking for.

Rick and Gemma, what was it that got you two involved in this?

Gemma: Well, we were asked to be involved and it didn’t take long for us to decide as this seemed really exciting. We were actually just speaking about it before and I finally realised how fun the day actually is going to be. Everyone who’s going to be there is going to be there because they’ve done something with VInspired and that’s going make such a great atmosphere.

Rick: It’s going to be so positive, as you’ve got a room full of people that care and that’s part of the appeal of getting involved. Most of the stuff I do is pretty vacuous and it’s just good to do something that feels like it can make a difference and change for the positive.  

Also, as Gemma said, it’s not a difficult thing to agree to, unless you’re completely mean spirited of course. Who would ever say “A charity for young people trying to make a difference? Not for me thanks”?

Rick Edwards and Gemma Cairney - ©vInspired Live - Change Something

vInspired did some research recently and found that young people think that campaigning by social media is the most effective way. What do you think of this?

Terry: Of course young people love social media, it’s where they spend a lot of their time. We did a previous campaign which was trying to get people to adopt appropriate behaviour online, getting them to sign a pledge not to ‘troll’ people and the results of that were incredible. This is what people believe in now and you have to use that to bring up issues that need to be brought up.

Gemma: I think the social networking aspect of this is really interesting as well in terms of free speech right now. Free speech is key to social networking actually working. Now, there are things happening daily online on Twitter and Facebook that’s engaging people. I think that’s so important as people now feel like they’ve got a voice and that if something in your world really is ticking you off, you can air that and see if you can make a difference.

Rick: It really drove home for me being involved with this that there are so many young people who do want change. We think that most of the young people in the UK are disenfranchised and don’t care, but through working with VInspired, it’s showed me that people really are passionate about wanting to make a difference and help the future of the country.

If you could all change something, what would it be?

Terry: For me personally, and just because of my own personal experience with a mother with Alzheimer’s, it would be focussed on social care for the elderly in this country. I had very little help caring for her, and I see plenty of other families having to deal with that stress. That’s something I really would like to do something about, along with promoting understanding for dementia.

Gemma: So many things spring to mind, maybe mental issues. I think that really needs to be approached and brought up more that’s something that’s a really complex field. I think people are afraid of how they feel sometimes and I think that needs to dealt with better. There are a lot of young people really confused about their well-being and their future and I think that we need to look at mental health more.

Rick: In my exposure to young people are politically engaged, I think the one thing that really concerns me the most is that they do feel like they have limited prospects. That’s quite depressing really. People want to work, they don’t want to be on benefits or living at home, but they feel like they’re unobtainable.

I think that’s really corrosive and we’re in danger of having a whole generation going out into the world feeling like there’s no hope for them. That’s a massive issue, but that would be something I wish I could tackle.

You held the vInspired Awards recently, what was it like being able to congratulate all those who’ve helped others?

Terry: The VInspired Awards is the highlight of my year and I Tweeted on the evening that I was surrounded by so much goodness that I thought I could feel my heart bursting. I really did feel that as while it was stormy outside and we’re surrounded by bad news, it was toasty inside and just filled with positivity and great people doing fantastic things. I’m really hoping that VInspired Live will help the people like that and many more to continue to help those around them.


vIspired Live takes place at London’s Roundhouse on Saturday 6th July and you can find more information about it online.

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