In June 2016 we applied for funding from the Heritage Lottery fund for a project idea- we wanted to explore youth clubs in Blyth from the 1930s to present day and create a publication.
We were very happy to receive a grant of £10,000 to bring the project to life- we commissioned ISIS arts and the over 50s forum to work in partnership with us. The money paid for us to enlist the support of local historian Gordon Smith, pay for top of the range recording equipment and to be able to hold workshops, have an exhibition and produce our final book that we named ‘Youth clubs of Blyth: 1930s-2017’
July 2016 was the official launch of our project in the Keel Row shopping centre and members of the public were invited to share their stories with us to eventually be included in the book. Lots of research, meetings and workshops took place over the next few months and the young people involved in the project learnt how to use the recording equipment and had a great time working with the over 50s forum collecting old photos and stories, they also visited Woodhorn Museum to explore the archives.
In October 2016 a large inflatable space descended on Blyth Marketplace- this inflatable space is called the ‘BIG M’ and was put their as part of our project. The Big M is an impressive inflatable Art Space and was used to screen and exhibit the pictures and stories that had been collected. It was great to be able to show the public how much work had been done and also a wonderful way for them to come and take a trip down memory lane and have the opportunity to share their own memories of being a young person with us. Our young people did a great job volunteering on the day- they dj’d and chatted to and interviewed the public about their experiences. This was a brilliant day and real memorable part of this project.
The next 12 months were spent designing the book and putting together all of the stories and memories, this took a lot of time and effort from all involved in the project. We commissioned Sally Pilkington from Morph Creative to turn our text and photos in a glossy 210 page book and once the design had been agreed and approved it was off to the printers! When we received it we were thrilled- it looked fantastic.
On Tuesday 30th January 2018 we held an official book launch at Blyth Comrades Club and invited local organisations and the public to join us.
The night began with a meet and greet with attendees including the Mayor of Blyth and Councillor Kath Nisbet, it was great to also see some of our funders and partners there to support the project too.
Our senior youth worker Jackie Long introduced the evening with a speech about the project and how it started and what we had been doing and she gave thanks to all involved. Sharon Bailey (Formerly of ISIS Arts) also said a few kind words about Silx and other youth projects and how much she had enjoyed being involved in the project.
Next was a short presentation by Gordon Smith using all of the photos, stories and memories that we had collected, the audience found this incredibly interesting and enjoyed taking a step back in time.
After the presentation our guests were all given a copy of the book and enjoyed a buffet and had the chance to chat and mingle which was a lovely way to close this project.
From a simple idea discussed between staff and young people to a professional publication we can honestly say that this has been one of the best projects we have done to date and big thanks must go to the Heritage Lottery Fund for giving us the opportunity to bring our idea to life. We hope you enjoy reading the book as much as we did making it.
Please keep checking our website as we have a page currently under construction that will be dedicated to this project where you will be able to download an electronic version of the book and be able to look at all of the pictures we used and listen to audio files of the interviews. This will all be accessed here: https://www.silxteen.com/heritage/