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Reggie Yates urges community to support projects with Aviva

COMMUNITY CHAMPION: Reggie Yates is supporting the Aviva Community Fund

REGGIE YATES is one of the busiest men in British TV. His documentaries have taken him all over the world and they’ve also put him in the privileged position of being invited into diverse communities across the globe, too. But it was here at home in the UK where the presenter-turned-documentary maker-turned-director first learned vital lessons about his craft that he has carried with him throughout his career.

“I am essentially the product of a community programme. I started out a drama club called the Anna Scher Theatre.

“Anna Scher was an amazing woman, my first mentor, a lady in north London who started this charity theatre school that offered drama classes for £2.50 a lesson. And because of that and because of the effort she made, I have a career. You know, I learnt loads about improvisation, the power of authenticity, being an individual and we were taught even from a young age to channel that into the work we do and I think that’s why I carry myself the way I do, why I work the way that I do.”

Yates, who endeavours to be his true self in whichever space he occupies – on screen and off – says this attitude “all came from a small community project that was accessible to me because somebody in my area decided to something for kids like me”.

Aware of the positive impact a support network can have, it’s natural step that Yates has become a mentor to several young creatives.

“I think it’s something that is important for anybody that has established themselves to reinvest because like I said, I’m the product of a long line of people.

“I mentor five people at the moment, all of which are continually surprise me in terms of what they can do and what they continue to achieve,” he said.

The only thing Yates has asked in return from his mentees is that they will continue to pursue their passions and then reinvest their knowledge and experience to help others.

In addition to encouraging and equipping young people with the skills and perspective needed to be inspired to pay it forward, Yates is also championing this same outlook through his support of the Aviva Community Fund, an initiative that gives people the chance to vote for projects to receive funding from Aviva.

The fund will finance over 500 projects with up to £25,000 each.

“It’s a lot of money to a lot of people. I just feel really passionate about people who believe that their area has something special that needs some funding, that needs some support, I really, really believe that they should get online and support it,” he said.

The Aviva Community Fund, which features four different funding levels – up to £1,000, up to £5,000, up to £10,000 and up to £25,000 – will support a range of organisations and charities that

Find out more and vote for your favourite community project, visit www.avivacommunityfund.co.uk before November 20.

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