Young people in Torbay have hit the airwaves by producing a radio programme about what it is like to be a young person living in Torbay.
The project created platforms and opportunities for young people to step-up and speak out.
As part of the programme, which is for people aged 16 to 25 living in Torbay, young people can learn a range of skills and develop their learning so that they can become more confident.
It also gives them a platform to share their views within the wider community and most importantly – gives them a voice.
Janice Stewart, training and employment development worker at LiveWest, said: “I think it’s great because it’s so different. Young people who may find it harder to engage in a classroom setting, can do this because it’s through the medium of music.
“Most young people are really involved in music and through this, they get a chance to make their own music.
“They can quite often communicate their feelings through lyrics, whereas if you’re sitting talking to a young person and trying to help them, it can be harder sometimes for them to express how they’re feeling.”
The station has different projects, one of them is an official employability programme called Ocean Upwards, that uses radio and music production to build self-confidence and employability skills.
It received funding from Petroc College and the European Social Fund so it could offer the employability award to help ensure lives can be improved by learning new skills.
Three of Torbay’s residents participated in the scheme where they were able to complete the qualification which they all passed.
Callum Slade, who took part in the course, said: “I feel I have gained more confidence and developed a lot of skills and life skills. It’s a better environment to learn than in a classroom setting.”
Emily Rose Martin said: “The course was a lot of fun and it built my confidence to try new things and to gain new skills.”
Keyleigh Hibbert added: “I felt really nervous at first when I started the course but when we did the podcast especially the Vox Pop, talking to members of the public, it really increased my confidence.”
The project held six sessions with residents from the Torbay Foyer addressing some wider issues around combatting loneliness.
As part of this, the residents produced their own podcast which was an hour-long radio programme, where they interviewed members of the public and they talked about what it’s like being a young person in Torbay.
Stewart added: “Mental health is a big issue so going and putting yourself in a situation where you’re meeting new people taking on a new challenge, it can be quite difficult thing. But I think they’ve taken that step and it really has opened doors for them.
“In terms of how they are at the Foyer, it’s made them get more involved with the activities that we hold here.”
This was followed up with three open sessions which were a games night, open mic night and an interactive podcast which were held for the public at the Foyer aimed at using the space to bring young people together.
Director of Sound Communities CIC Mike Cook said: “We always say that young people have a voice, it’s just giving them a platform to be listened to. Torbay Foyer work with some of the most vulnerable young people in Torbay.
“It’s very much about raising their aspirations, giving them new skills, giving them confidence, and making them feel included within the community.
“One of the participants wrote a rap for the first time. And he framed it around his past, his present and his future and around some of the traumas that he had faced earlier in life.
“This is compared to where he is now, in terms of feeling more stable being in LiveWest accommodation.”
A community-based project called Oceans Together launched as a response to COVID-19 is aimed at raising the confidence and aspirations of young people.
The team found that young people were more comfortable in a familiar environment and as some may be quite anxious and struggling with confidence, going to them to learn proved to be more successful.
Through support from the National Lottery Funding, it was able to purchase a bus which it converted into an on-the-go mobile broadcast unit named the Boom Bus and is kitted out so people can experience a professional studio where they feel at home.
Cook added: “We’ve always done community work and we were going to youth centres and provisions around Torbay.
“We found that young people were more confident in their own environments, rather than them coming to us at the studio all the time.
“We’ve really found, especially with people in Torbay, there’s a real lack of aspiration for young people.
“By giving them inspirational opportunities that they can achieve and be proud of, they can really go on to achieve happiness and wellbeing within their lives.”
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