Posted on: Friday 11 March 2022
Over 50 young people are learning new skills thanks to a new radio DJ initiative in Torfaen.
It’s run by Torfaen Council’s Inspire project, which works with young people aged between 11 and 25 who are at risk of disengaging with education, are unemployed, or at risk of becoming involved with crime and antisocial behaviour.
The radio and DJ project, based in Griffithstown, helps young people to write, record and edit their own radio shows and gives them skills they can then use to improve their education, training and employment opportunities.
Lewis George, aged 16, from Pontypool was referred to the music project by Torfaen’s pupil referral unit.
He said: “I love coming each week to the music project and it has helped me gain more confidence and use equipment I couldn’t get myself.
“My grandfather introduced me to the music of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s and I love playing that music in my sessions. I’m also recording a rock music show for the radio!”.
The music project has inspired Lewis to further his education and he hopes to go to Usk College in September to study to become a veterinary nurse.
The project is funded by the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Community Fund, which aims to enable children and young people to live safer, healthier lives, has been running since last year.
Young people are referred to the project by schools; the Youth Offending Service and other organisations.
Hakeem Shamis aged 17, who is originally from London but now lives in Pontypool, is a big ‘hip hop’ fan and attends the DJ sessions each Friday to fine tune his skills and improve his confidence.
He said “The music project has given me much more confidence in myself and I really love music so the chance to use the equipment and to make my own radio show is brilliant!”
“It’s given me something to focus on and has removed the possibility of me getting into trouble again. I have learned new skills and got qualifications from being involved in the project”.
Gareth Jones, Inspire Project Manager, said: “We work with young people who may be struggling to engage with education or have some barriers to their progression, and offer them an opportunity to learn new skills and build their confidence by doing something that they really enjoy”.
“We are finding that some young people who would struggle to attend school now attend more regularly as they know they will get the chance to access the music project. We have seen huge developments in everyone who has engaged with the project in terms of their confidence and communication, ability to work in a team, and to focus on the task at hand, all of which will have great benefits for their future job chances.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Jeff Cuthbert said: “When young people disengage from education and employment, they are particularly vulnerable to involvement in crime and antisocial behaviour.
“By offering them the opportunity to do something that is meaningful to them we can help them to develop while ensuring they are safeguarded, supported, and able to achieve their full potential."