walking on custard

🎤 I've been public speaking for over twenty years.
Neil Hughes on stage
Sometimes I talk about anxiety & mental health. Other times I share about building a satisfying career. And occasionally I just tell jokes.

I've performed for audiences ranging from two people to two thousand, and at all sorts of events—including festivals, school assemblies, staff training days, university lectures, conference keynotes, and more.

Walking on Custard: A talk for anxious humans (and others too!)

After years with anxiety, I realised that it was surprisingly helpful to think about custard. Who knew?!

I've turned my experiences into an amusing talk which explores difficult times through funny stories and practical tips for emotional management.

I gave a short (14 minute) version of this talk at TEDx Leamington Spa. Click here to watch it!
Over 340,000 people have watched this TED talk! 😮
Thank you for your contribution to raising awareness and understanding of mental health. You are a star!
Norman Lamb, MP
Neil Hughes speaking at the EBRD

Businesses say:

Neil should be on every conference agenda. He entertained over 200 attendees from around the world at Copy Capital and was one of the most talked about speakers, bravely touching on real issues.
Vikki Ross
Neil's talk at our staff Festival of Wellbeing really hit the spot. Between laugh out loud moments, the room listened in tentative silence to Neil's personal journey to better understanding and living with anxiety. His witty descriptions of mental health really resonated. Many of those attending work in mental health and commented that Neil provided them with real insight and a new perspective. We will never think of custard in the same way again!
Jo Smith, Health & Wellbeing Lead, Lancashire & South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust
Great content and delivery, and good fun! Addresses serious topics with a great sense of humour, putting us all at ease to discuss a subject that no one discusses openly in the workplace.
Alicia Benito Martinez, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
Having Neil speak at our Staff Away Day was a great way to get each team member to reflect on how we think about ourselves and how this can improve wellbeing at work.
Wired Aerial Theatre Company
Brilliant... inspiring... Neil created a lasting impression through his incredible humour and helpful advice. Despite the event taking place virtually, Neil was able to reveal his ideas and witty personality through the screen, instantly becoming the fan-favourite at the event!
Trent University

Schools say:

Neil Hughes speaking at TEDx Leamington Spa
I would highly recommend Neil as a humorous and inspirational speaker on anxiety and mental health. As well as amusing our sixth form, he gave practical advice on managing emotions in a very relatable way.
Rowena Gill, Teacher, Calday Grange Grammar School
Informative and very real. Neil's personal challenges were explained using a witty and frank dialogue that the students appreciated. An excellent session.
Marc Whisker, Head of Year 12, Upton Hall School
Neil related very well to the students with humorous stories and his down to earth humility. All took something away to think about for the future.
Fettes College, Edinburgh
Entertaining, light-hearted and truly inspirational to both staff and students. Having worked for 17 years in mainstream education before moving to a specialist mental health provision, I can whole-heartedly recommend Neil to any school.
Phillip Arrowsmith, Headteacher, Wirral Hospitals' School
I would recommend Neil 100%. Every child was engaged, and those with anxiety hung on his every word. Can't wait to have Neil back.
Emma Pennington, New Brighton Primary
It was a very good day. I enjoyed the workshop and Neil gave me advice to help me out with my feelings and emotions. I can now calm myself down and know how to look after myself.
A student, New Brighton Primary
Neil was very well received. Parents told us their children had commented positively at home. We would certainly like Neil to do further assemblies in future.
Neston High School
The children really enjoyed Neil coming in to talk about mental health. They were fully engaged, and he managed to make this difficult topic accessible and funny to pupils in both Key Stage 1 and 2. Afterwards, he visited each class to answer questions and discuss any concerns or feelings they had. This was a really positive experience. It's a YES from us!
Egremont Primary School
Neil delivered engaging and interesting assemblies to over 800 pupils. He presented challenging subject matter in a style that made it easier for children to talk about mental health issues whilst also garnering smiles and laughs. It was a pleasure to host Neil for assemblies during this week.
The Oldershaw Academy
Neil really helped me to appreciate a lot of aspects of poor mental health but his talk was really funny too!
Martha, student, Birkenhead Sixth Form College
Neil's talks are a brilliant way to get across complex problems in an entertaining way. His advice to help combat anxiety is excellent, and we're extremely grateful that he was able to take the time to come and talk to us all.
Jen Foden, Mental Health Lead, Birkenhead Sixth Form College
Need a speaker?

Contact neil@walkingoncustard.com or click here to ask for a quote

I'm currently based in the northwest of England, but I regularly travel all over the UK (and further, if required).

Thanks to the generosity of clients who are able to pay more, a limited number of free events are available, with priority given to state schools and charities. If you think you might qualify for a free event then please ask!
Either way, please get in touch—I try to accommodate all budgets as flexibly as I can.
© Neil Hughes 2019 — 2023
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