Raising aspirations (RISE)

Our ambassador

Deborah Haywood
Deborah Haywood

Award winning film director Deborah Haywood is ambassador for the Raising Aspirations (RISE) project.

Deborah, currently receiving critical acclaim for her movie PIN CUSHION, is the face – and the voice – of the project and is passionate about providing people with the stepping stones to achieve their fullest potential.

Deborah grew up in Swadlincote and went to the town’s Pingle Academy, where she failed to take her exams. 

Having a daughter at 17 motivated her to enrol at Burton and South Derbyshire College, aged 23, hoping to become an English teacher.

It was here she got hooked on writing and went on to do a BA at Derby University in Literature and Creative Writing, as well as an MA in English at The University of Warwick. 

After university, Deborah continued to write while doing temping jobs, sitting on reception in various organisations, and eventually got a break when she got shortlisted for a short film scheme at Nottingham’s EM Media.

Following her first short film Lady Margaret, she was selected for Screen International’s Stars of Tomorrow in 2007 and has since made several award winning shorts including SIS.

Her debut feature film PIN CUSHION, shot in and around Swadlincote, opened Critic’s Week at Venice International Film Festival, 2018 and has won a series of prestigious accolades.

Fashion and lifestyle magazine Harper’s Bazaar has recently named her as one of the top five biggest breakout female filmmakers.

Deborah said: “I’m delighted to be the ambassador for such a worthy project. I’m extremely passionate about giving youngsters the stepping stones to enable them to thrive and reach their fullest potential."