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Young People's Action Group - frontline reports from our young facilitators

Posted on 28 February 2013

In a continuation of our blog series about the Young People’s Action Group, we hear from Ruby and Tom, who were facilitators for three ‘Take it to the Bridge’ youth network events across the region (in Redcar, Cramlington and in central Gateshead). For more information about the Young People’s Action Group, which is open to people aged 14 – 25, visit the webpage.

Ruby describes her experience of the final youth network event at Gateshead Old Town Hall, then Tom reflects on his own experiences through the events and at the Experience Day at Sage Gateshead which was the culmination of the events.

The atmosphere at this event was upbeat and the energy was high. During all the activities all the young people were involved and the expressions on their faces showed their enjoyment. Everyone was totally engrossed in the activities throughout. We learnt that some young people with special educational needs have lots of activities to join in with and others don’t. And the activities are not always what they want to do. For instance one of the participants wanted to do music but hadn’t been told about any music groups he could join in with. I think there should be a better variety of activities for young people with special educational needs living in different areas. Ruby, 20

After the three Youth Network events, the final event was a great day of musicmaking and creativity by young people at Sage Gateshead. Tom, another young facilitator, filled us in on the action!

After the three bridge events that we have ran, we are now at the final event – the experience day. All of the participants in the previous events should enjoy the fun activities we have lined up for them like Boomdang drumming, steel pans and DJ-ing to name but a few. All of these activities are led by professionals from Sage Gateshead and should hopefully further the participants interests in the arts and may even get them to sign up to a few things extra in their local area.
With the wide variety of activities, everyone should leave feeling they’ve enjoyed at least one thing that they have took part in today. From the penny whistle to the drums, there’s something for everyone.

To me, these brief taster sessions are very important. It was through a brief taster session in school I became involved in drumming and from another I started to play the steel pan. From first hand experience, I can confidently say that without these two projects, I would be on a completely different path now. My personal aim from the day is to just get more young people involved in these groups. With school funding for the arts lowered, it falls on other organisations to pick up the slack, and without more and more young people attending these groups, their funding will shrink too. It is taster sessions like these ran by us that bring people into the arts and help further themselves.

The main purpose of the day though is for all of us volunteers to say thank you for attending our previous events; we couldn’t have got the valuable information and experiences without it. So thank you to Redcar, Cramlington and Gateshead for having us. Everyone involved in the project has loved meeting all of you, and we hope you have taken something away from the experiences to. Hopefully we will see everyone we met at these places again, and involved in even more arts activities in their areas. Thank you! Tom