Speaking out for the city of Hull

A SOCIAL entrepreneur from Hull has launched a public speaking club to try to improve communication skills in the city.

Rikki Arundel, who set up the Professional Speakers' Association in 1999, has been involved in public speaking and training for more than 30 years, having worked in the financial sector.

She set up Hull Speakers after the business community complained about a lack of communication and leadership skills in the local workforce – which she ascribed to low confidence rather than a lack of ability.

"People are afraid of giving a speech or running a meeting, and yet this is easy to overcome," Ms Arundel said.

The 60-year-old founded Hull Speakers with the backing of Michael J Clarke and Damian Chapman and also of the UK arm of American self-help organisation Toastmasters, which works in 113 countries to help people improve communication and leadership skills.

Hull Speakers, a not-for-profit enterprise, will hold meetings at the Townhouse Hotel, on Albion Street every second and fourth Tuesday evening, including a free launch event, next Tuesday, at 7pm.

Ms Arundel previously worked in the financial sector before setting up GenderShift, which provides support, education and training to transgender people.

She came to Hull in 2002 to study for a postgraduate degree at the university.