Barnardo's 'Voice of Teesside' hits all the right notes

Hartlepool youngsters have been showcasing their musical talents, writing and performing a song about what matters most to them.

Sunday, 15th December 2019, 8:00 am

The youngsters, aged 12-14, premiered their song called Our Future, Our Voice before an audience at the Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning after 12 weeks of working together.

The initiative has been especially targeted at young people facing challenges and perhaps needing to build their self-esteem.

Children’s charity Barnardo’s has been working on the project with pupils from Dyke House, Manor Community Academy, St Hild's and High Tunstall, with the aim of exploring current affairs, helping youngsters communicate and building musical knowledge and skills.

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The song and accompanying digital story explore their concerns about the future of the planet and their own experiences.

The lyrics address issues including younger people being given the vote, climate change, Brexit and younger voices being heard. However, the song is an uplifting call to action.

The Voice of Teesside project includes five music groups in each of the five local authority areas in Teesside – Hartlepool, Stockton, Middlesbrough, Darlington and Redcar.

Barnardo’s aims to tour bigger regional performances around local schools to share the message of the original music tracks. The aim is that a group selected from across Teesside will also visit Parliament.

Barnardo’s project worker Lizz Bennett said: “The Hartlepool group has brought together pupils from four different secondary schools providing different perspectives, world views and interests and creating the foundations of new friendships.

“The song demonstrates the strength of feeling that young people have and gives amazing insight into how they see the world. The showcase is a fantastic opportunity to share in that insight and show the group that their voices deserve to be heard.”

The youngsters had a great time working and creating together, including Lillie Usher and Brooke Oliver, both 13.

Lillie said: “We’ve worked together for 12 weeks to make the song about what will happen to the world if we don’t look after it. We’ve all made a massive bond and we’ve all become big friends.”

Brooke said: “We wrote the words and put the tunes together. I loved making it and it was a really good experience making the song.”