MP mixes with Bad Apples

MP Ian Lavery mixes some music with youngsters at the Stobhill .
MP Ian Lavery mixes some music with youngsters at the Stobhill .

MUSIC making will come to the masses after a county youth scheme picked up extra cash.

Bad Apples North East was set up last August to provide diversionary activities and informal learning for teenagers across Northumberland.

The community organisation regularly holds youth nights in Morpeth and other events at various venues throughout the county.

And now it is on track to provide an even greater mix of activities after securing almost £5,000 for DJ equipment.

The £4,996 grant was handed over by the Coalfields Regeneration Trust and will enable the group to take music workshops countywide.

Youngsters were given their first glimpse of the kit at Stobhill Youth Centre in Morpeth last week.

Bad Apples Director Caroline Ball said: “Bad Apples is about kids building esteem, raising awareness that they can do good stuff, as well as providing music, dance and arts projects.

“The MC workshops always go down really well, the kids just love them and I’m hopefully going to be using them to do some literacy work soon.

“This kind of thing is great for being able to engage with the kids because they trust us, but even though I’m a qualified teacher and am trying to keep them on the straight and narrow, they enjoy the informality.

“Without this grant we wouldn’t be able to do the workshops, it’s as simple as that. We were borrowing equipment before, but now we have our own it means we can take it around the county wherever we go and there is so much more we can do.”

Activities are primarily aimed at 12 to 17-year-olds, but the scheme does some work with other age groups and from September it will be taking projects into schools.

Participants are encouraged to take a keen interest in all aspects of the organisation and its logo was designed by 17-year-old Ryan Stafford of Bedlington.

It is currently seeking extra funding to expand its range of activities and there are plans to offer young people support to start their own businesses.

“We are going out anywhere and everywhere to try to find more groups to work with because we want young people everywhere to have more opportunities,” said Miss Ball.

“At the moment we have got a few grants pending and we are also looking at a long-term project to help kids start their own businesses.

They will be involved in researching them, coming up with marketing plans and all sorts of things.”

Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery has welcomed the initiative.

“It is good to see these things going on to interest young people who perhaps would be lacking vision about the future. Anything that is going to assist them is really helpful,” he said.

“I spend lots of time with young people in my constituency and they all say there is nothing for them to do. This encourages young people by bringing activities out to them and keeps them away from mischief.

“It is something I really support and I think they are doing a good job. Projects like this need our support.”