GRAPHIC news footage of youngsters rioting may have done nothing to improve the public’s perception of the youth of today, but a group of Kirkby youngsters are doing their bit to create a more positive image of local teens.
The group of 14 to 16 year olds, from Kirkby College, have been taking part in a National Citizen Service project during the holidays to give children the summer of a lifetime and help them engage with their community.
During the six-week programme, which is being delivered through a partnership with young persons’ charity Catch 22, the teens go on residential visits, carry out voluntary and community work and take on a social action project.
So far, they have interviewed people in the Kirkby area about the main social issues that are of concern to them and then decided to plan, film and edit a short film that addresses one of these issues.
Many people had quite negative views about young people hanging around causing a nuisance and commented that the teens do not use the facilities that have been designed for them.
The group’s film is therefore aimed at young people and they hope that it will boost young people’s perception of Kirkby by showcasing what there is for them to do there.
Said project worker, Alfie Smith: “Hopefully it will have an impact and if it gets 20 more people into a youth club, the guys will be happy.”
The DVD is made in a similar style to the successful MTV ‘Cribs’ programme to show off the local youth club and when it is finished it will be screened at a special event at the Ashwood Centre.
They then hope to distribute the DVD to local schools so that it is seen by its target audience.
Part of the film involved the group doing a presentation for Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero before interviewing her about Kirkby.
Louis Brown took on the role of interviewer and asked her about Kirkby’s good points, about the community’s perception of young people, about the issues young people are facing and how to encourage young people to engage in positive activities in the community.
All members of the group said they were really enjoying taking part in the programme and had particularly enjoyed the residential trip to Caythorpe Court PGL in Lincolnshire.
Comments from the youngsters included that they’d had a new experience everyday and had got to know their community better.
Participant Sophie Edis added: “I was not really outgoing but it’s helped me make new friends and get out and about.”