Rachel Rogers, Director of The Gorton Takeover, shares how Reform Radio is enabling young people to develop crucial digital creative skills to support them to achieve their goals.

“Gorton is a neighbourhood in Greater Manchester that experiences high levels of disadvantage and problems of unemployment and crime. To tackle these issues, we identified a need for activities to engage and upskill young people, aged 18-30, who are unemployed in the area and have little access to digital tools and creative workshops.

We supported members to host a monthly radio show and engage in weekly digital skills sessions. The radio show provided a platform to discuss local issues and celebrate achievements.

As they gained confidence, members have started to throw around ideas and change the direction of the project. We give them the tools and they decide what they want to do with them. Recently, they have been working on campaigns to address social concerns and topics of interests.

One campaign focussed on raising awareness about youth homelessness in area. They called this the Creative Collective. Members conducted research on the topic and decided to make a video, which involved interviews with local people. They also screen printed t-shirts from manhole covers in the area, which were sold to raise money for a homelessness charity.

We work in partnership with Sacred Heart Sure Start in Gorton and they are able to offer a crèche for children to attend while their parents are getting involved in the project. Members fed back that they wanted to hold dance lessons for the kids during the summer holidays. It’s been a huge success with around 20 people at each session and the parents are really getting involved.

We support members to get through personal issues and achieve their wider goals relating to employment or education. One member came to our digital sessions is now looking to volunteer to take photos of the sessions and make fliers for the campaigns.

Danielle, a project member and young mum of two, wanted to work in television but she wasn’t sure how to get there. We were able to introduce her to a mentor at the BBC and help her to get some shadowing opportunities. Soon after, she applied for a job at CBeebies and now she’s on a permanent contract. We’re still in touch and Danielle is keen to come back to speak to project members about her journey. This is my favourite part of the project – watching members make progress in their chosen creative pathway.

As the project evolves, we have been meeting with other similar organisations, community centres and schools in the area to share our knowledge and expand our support network.”

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