(source: Ipswich Star by Jason Noble)
A project which helps youngsters in one of the most diverse and deprived areas of Ipswich has hailed the success of the project so far, just months after securing funding to launch a children’s radio show.
The South Street Kids project, based at Ipswich Community Media’s (ICM’s) South Street studios, connects youngsters from the Norwich Road area and provides a creative outlet for them to make music and record a radio show.
Formed by ICM’s outreach and creative co-ordinator Cad Taylor, the project came about from a chance encounter with some youngsters.
“I noticed last August a group of kids hanging out in the street. I said ‘did you know there is a radio station here?’ and said I would try to get the funding to support them.
“It’s an incredibly diverse area and that’s so important for us to celebrate that.
“A lot of these families don’t have money for extra-curricular activities, so to have that chance for the youngsters to do it for free is great.”
Having secured funding from Suffolk Community Foundation, Community Action Suffolk, and Awards for All Lottery funding in January, the project runs a group for 7-11-year-olds, and a group for 12-16-year-olds, and provides a space for them to learn new media skills, as well as socialise and make new friends in an environment away from school.
The project has also begun forging links with other organisations, including taking tours of the New Wolsey Theatre and enjoying a hip-hop evening at DanceEast, with the next phase now set to involve the youngsters teaching each other about their backgrounds, cultures and learning phrases from their languages such as Polish and Romanian. “These kids have real energy and personality and we really want to celebrate that,” Ms Taylor added.
“I am bursting with pride because these kids are generous and genuine and celebrating the positivity of diversity.”
On Saturday, outgoing Ipswich Mayor Glen Chisholm took part in a recording with the teenagers in his last duty in the position, and proved something of a role model for the creative youngsters.
Ms Taylor added: “He went to Westbourne High School so he is one of them, and for those kids he is a really good role model.
“It all provides another layer of self-esteem they take back to school. We now want this to be a group known in the town that can cover community events.”