Last month I published photographs taken at the Ryton Local Produce Market. Whilst I was there I got chatting to the organiser Melanie Cornish. Melanie has a busy schedule, but she kindly agreed for me to visit her at her office in Blaydon for a further talk. I discovered that Melanie’s input into community interests lies far deeper than only the market.
Melanie doesn’t just have a business background, she has a journalistic one too. Originally from Cumbria, she was a media PA in New York for some years, but she loves the North East and has settled down in High Spen. Like me, she appreciates being part of a tight community, the access we have to rural and coastal environments, and the benefits of being within easy reach of cinemas, theatres, art galleries, and the rich seam of history contained within Northumberland, Durham, Tyneside and Wearside.
In 2012 Melanie set up the charity, Bringing Words to Life. Piloted at High Spen Primary School in 2012, the scheme brings out the dormant writing abilities of young people and disadvantaged adults. They have different backgrounds and abilities, but they share a common need to write. There’s little purpose in writing prose that no one is ever going to read, and BWTL emphasises to young people that they have valid opinions, which they have a duty to express, because others can learn from what they have to say. The things we write about best are the subjects we know about or are interested in. The idea behind BWTL, is that a young man or woman who is mad about football, video games, dancing, make up or whatever, is the best person to teach others about it and ignite enthusiasm. To facilitate this, the charity hosts an on-line blog, a newspaper/magazine for young people, written by young people, B* *P. It doesn’t stop there though, parts of the blog are now available on the printed page as well as electronically. Issue 3 of B**P is out now, and you can pick one up from Ryton Market this Saturday.
The newspaper is free, and I’m envious that there was nothing like it when I was young. The articles are relevant, thought-provoking, and informative. In the current issue Lauren White looks at the real and difficult situation of youth homelessness. James Harrison gives good advice on how to budget limited finances, and there’s an excellent piece on the daunting prospect of leaving home and going to university. I also enjoyed “Retro Reviews” on page 4. These are reviews on books and films from the past, bringing classics such as The Great Gatsby to the attention of the younger generation. The very smiley Alex Khalil, featured in header photograph, is also a regular contributor to B* *P, and he reviews the old Arnie classic,Terminator.