16 April 2024

‘It’s all about raising awareness and improving people’s lives’

by Ray Duffill and Rebecca Hannant

A free concert was held in Hedon on Saturday as part of the local Ruben’s Voice movement to promote sources of help and support for anyone struggling with mental health problems.

Now in its third year, the event has gone from strength to strength raising mental health awareness among young people.

The event is in memory of 18-year-old Ruben Ferrol, who took his own life on April 14, 2021.

His mother, Katy Smith, set up Ruben’s Voice in response to the tragedy. She said: “Ruben was very much loved by his wide circle of family and friends, but unfortunately he wouldn’t accept any help offered and didn’t speak out to let people know how he was feeling.”

The concert saw a variety of artists performing free of charge through the day and night including Em Taylor, Cuba Drive and Buddy Budz, Starlight Arts, Charlotte Lammiman, Pablo Carizzo among many more.

The event also invited inspirational speakers who were encouraging people to talk about their problems and not bottle them up. Speakers included veteran and Hull 4 Heroes advocate Dave Serjeant.

The concert on Saturday was an event suitable for all the family with entertainment, stalls and charities and, crucially, promoting the help available to anyone who needs it.

Katy added: “All of the feedback we have had has been positive – already people are asking about next year and how they can get involved, both with the concert and the Ruben’s Voice community wellbeing hub. We raised £1,702.82. That’s amazing in just one day, although it cost a lot more than that to organise.

“Ruben’s Voice is never about money, although the more we raise, the more we can do. It’s all about raising awareness and improving people’s lives by giving people something positive to focus on and starting difficult conversations by attracting people’s attention. I think Ruben’s Voice 2023 has succeeded in doing that.”

Next year’s event will take place on Saturday, August 17.