SNAP-HAPPY youngsters with an eye for the perfect picture are preparing to fight for the crown of Leys Young Photographer of the Year.

Now in its fifth year, the annual competition is open to children and teens on the Blackbird and Greater Leys estate, as well as students at The Oxford Academy and pulled in some 150 entries last year.

The theme for 2017 is 'contrasts' and wannabe photographers aged eight to 19 have until Wednesday, May 31 to get snapping and submit their best entries.

Since last year the project has been run by Oxford charity Thrive, which has merged with the Leys Youth Programme and provides support to young people on the estate.

Development director Robin Peake said: "This taps into the creativity that we see in young people in the Leys, some of which isn't realised as much as it should be.

"It provides an outlet for young people, who have as much potential as everyone else, to showcase that.

"We have seen the momentum build up over the years. This year we had young people asking us 'When is it starting again?'"

As well as the top prize of £200 in vouchers, £50 will be offered to each category winner in three age ranges: Year 5 to 8, Year 9 to 11 and Year 12 to 13.

There is no need to have any past experience of photography and entrants can use film cameras, digital cameras, tablets or even mobile phones to take their photos.

Mr Peake said: "Some of our best finds have come from a young person taking a snap on a smartphone on the bus.

"It's about having an eye for a photo, or being able to work when you need to, rather than having good equipment."

Last year's winner was 12-year-old Jessica Tyrell, who wowed judges with a moody image of an Oxford University college reflected in a puddle in High Street.

Winners for 2017 will be announced at The Oxford Academy’s ArtsFest event on Saturday 1 July and it is hoped the Lord Lieutenant Tim Stevenson will judge again.

Mr Peake said: "What struck me last year was being at the prizegiving, and realising just how excited the young people were to have something they had created being exhibited and shown off to their parents and people in the community, and that genuine sense of achievement."

Thrive, which previously supported troubled young people as a community group in Barton, expanded into the Leys in early 2016.

It has just received £5,000 from the Oxfordshire Community Foundation to continue its mentoring programmes on the estate.

For more information on the Leys Young Photographer of the Year competition visit