Promoting youth well-being through medium of music

An outdoor education provider is getting down with the kids to improve young people’s aspirations through music.

Monday, 17th May 2021, 6:16 pm
Left to right: Paul Kirkpatrick, Off the Grid; MC Rockeye, DJ Herby, MC Bertie; and Alison Adamson, Off the Grid.

Ashington-based Off the Grid Adventures works primarily with young people who do not access mainstream education services or those who have been turned away previously.

Their work includes one-to-one mentoring, team working skills and outdoor activities including gardening, bush craft, overnight camping and archery.

Now thanks to support from UK Youth Funding, a new pilot project aimed at improving teenager’s emotional health and wellbeing is being trialled in the Newbiggin and Ashington areas.

The Decks and Music project reaches out to teenagers who have been shut away in their bedroom during lockdown and are finding it difficult to adjust to their lack of normal schooling and social interaction.

Paul Kirkpatrick, CEO of Off the Grid Adventures, has enlisted the help of three local DJs and MCs to inspire young people into taking an interest in music.

Jamie Burt aka MC Bertie from Newbiggin, Jimmy Mason aka MC Rockeye from North Shields and Cramlington DJ Dan Herbison (DJ Herby) are experts in a form of music called Makina which had its origins in Spain with a bouncing tempo ranging.

MC Rockeye said: “The kids we are working with now are similar to what we were when we were young.

"We were always in trouble and if someone had been about to harness our energy through music perhaps our lives would’ve been different.

"Makina and music saved us, and we hope to pass on our skills to these young people and make a difference. Get them engaged and it keeps them out of trouble.”

MC Bertie agreed: “We know each other through music and our lives have all changed for the better.”

The project aims to offer a range of workshops and run Under 18 Makina nights for the teenagers – with a strict no alcohol or smoking policy.

Paul said: “These lads are excellent role models; they may have a history, but they can engage and relate to our young people today.

"They are now volunteering their time helping other people deal with their personal issues through the music they create and giving them something to be proud of from their own area.”