Meet the Hartlepool students who are the best in the game

Part of the GameCon team with their award. From left, Mark Lee, Thomas Atkinson, Rory Williamson, Thomas Black and Erin Blackett, at Hartlepool College of Further Education.
Part of the GameCon team with their award. From left, Mark Lee, Thomas Atkinson, Rory Williamson, Thomas Black and Erin Blackett, at Hartlepool College of Further Education.

Innovative youngsters from Hartlepool were given the highest accolade in the region at an awards night thanks to their efforts at gaming.

Hartlepool College of Further Education students were awarded the biggest prize of the night at the Positive Social Behaviour Awards.

Seing so many young people and families come together to play was rewarding, but having this recognition and award is an amazing feeling. We’re already planning GameCon 2017 and this has given us the confidence to make it our biggest, best one yet

Thomas Black

They won the Best Youth Project for their creation of a charity video gaming event which supported a charity called Changing Futures North East.

Thomas Black, Andrew Smales, Sam Henderson, Rory Williamson and student services team leader Mark Lee picked Changing Futures because of its life-changing work creating opportunities for teenagers.

Mark said: “We wanted to create something that would appeal to people of all ages and be very unique.

“We are all gamers with lots of retro and modern gaming systems, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to run a gaming event.”

Sponsorship and food was provided by Domino’s Pizza Hartlepool, and more than 100 visitors came over three days to have a go at a vast range of modern and retro games.

The college also set up its aerospace flight simulator and Teesside University game design tutors and students came along with some state-of-the-art virtual reality kit.

Student ambassador Thomas Black said: “Everyone really came together to support us. Changing Futures, Dominos, our own IT and facilities departments and our college marketing team. It was a very collaborative event.

“We are naturally ecstatic to win the PosBo Award for the Best Youth Event in the North East in 2016, as we were up against some amazing, inspiring events.

“Youth Focus North East stated we won due to the event being an innovate, creative idea that really captured the interest of people across Hartlepool.”

The GameCon event first started in 2015 and was created as an event for students interested in gaming to enjoy running.

Thomas added: “Seeing so many young people and families come together to play was rewarding, but having this recognition and award is an amazing feeling.

“We’re already planning GameCon 2017 and this has given us the confidence to make it our biggest, best one yet.”