Young Apprentice 2016-Holiday Inn

The Holiday Inn, in Seaton Burn played host to this years young apprentice event organised by the Northumberland Youth Service. The weekend began on Friday 26th February at 5pm and three groups from Cramlington, Seaton Valley and our group from Blyth met up to begin what shaped out to be a fantastic few days.


The weekend started with the groups being shown to their rooms, our young people were very impressed that they had a double bed each to chill out in and each room came with it’s own flat screen TV! After everyone had settled in, it was time to play some Ice breaking games so the three groups involved could get to know eachother- each young person had to swap around and find out two interesting facts about another young person in the group that they didn’t know. The young people were a bit shy at first but took it in their stride.

After the team games the young people enjoyed the first of many delicious meals in the Holiday Inn restaurant, the food was great and the staff really looked after the groups.

After tea everyone met in the ‘boardroom’ and were audience to a presentation given by Lesley Strickland who is one of the organisers of the Tall Ships Regatta, the young people were told all about what is happening during the event taking place in Blyth this summer and were told all about the different types of ships and how the community can get involved. The young people were told to pay attention and to take lots of notes as these would be needed throughout the weekend.

After the presentation the young people were given the brief for the weekend. Each group had to give themselves a team name and then come up with a product that could be sold at the Tall Ships event- the product had to be made of paper and had to include the youth service logo somewhere. The young people then had to make a presentation to deliver to the panel on Sunday which had to include their idea, how they had made the decision, how much the item would cost and how much profit would be made. After the brief had been given each group were given their own private room to work in for the remainder of the weekend and they set to work on their projects……..

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The young people were up bright and early on Saturday morning ready to get started with their projects, but of course this was after everyone devoured an amazing breakfast!

The day began with a ‘challenge’ these challenges became a bit of theme throughout the weekend and were done in the style of ‘I’m a celebrity’ this challenge was the ‘jelly bean race’ each team had to line up and compete against eachother to get jelly beans from one mug to another one across the room using chopsticks! The first team to get 8 jelly beans moved won and gained priority for the next task! Cramlington won this challenge but all the teams had such a laugh taking part.

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After the challenge, all teams retired to their team rooms to continue with their projects. Our group came in up with the idea of selling ‘Maritime Mixups’ this idea came about after the young people decided that people attending the event would need an affordable refreshment that doubled up as a tour guide. The Maritime Mixup was a bag with a map printed on the back, each bag came with a ‘luggage label’ attached to the handle that had a key on it that corresponded with the map so visitors could find their way around and also a ‘what’s on’ guide for the weekend. Each bag would contain a bottle of water and a sweetie cone. The young people then spent quite a bit of time on Saturday working out how much these items would cost to produce- this took a lot of patience and research. The group worked well as a team to delegate tasks. Georgia and Christina researched the cost of the paper bags, sweets and printing, Keighleigh took control of what should be included in the tour guide and Paul and Eddie got to work on making our own Tall Ship to use in the presentation.

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The young people had a break from the projects to take part in another ‘challenge’ this time each group had to decorate a cake in a ‘Tall Ship’ theme. There was a table of ingredients set out and each group had to take it in turns to choose their ingredients- Cramlington chose first as they won the last challenge, each team then had 15 minutes to create their masterpiece- Workers were very impressed with our group’s creation. All groups won this challenge as all the cakes were so good it was impossible to choose just one winner!

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The young people then continued with their projects late into the day. Our team worked very well getting their prototype ready to present and created a powerpoint presentation to go along with it, the tall ship the lads were making was beginning to look amazing and they worked late into the night perfecting it and and named it ‘The Magpie’

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At 9:30pm it was decided the teams had done enough hard work for one day and deserved a bit of entertainment! The groups decided to put on their own ‘Lip Sync Battle’ this was hilarious and such good fun, Sarah even got roped in to represent team Blyth- see her and and Georgia in Action below!

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After all the singing and dancing it was time for the final ‘Challenge’ of the day and this one was a proper ‘Bushtucker Trial’ complete with bug eating! Each person from each group had to endure eating a ‘tasty treat’ these ranged from Cookies and Jelly Beans to Crickets and Meal Worms!!!! Check out Paul and Georgia tucking into Curried Cricket! Very Brave!

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Sunday began with another early start with all groups eager to make all the finishing touches to their presentation. Our group finished off making their prototype and spent time practising their presentation. at 11:30am all groups met in the boardroom and were greeted by the panel made up of Val, Emma, Kevin (the minion, complete with Fart Gun) and The Apprentice’s very own Lord Alan Sugar!


Each group then took it in turns to present to the panel, our group were second to present and were extremely nervous but did a fabulous job- the panel asked lots of questions about the product and were very impressed with the time and effort that had gone into the Tall Ship. The other two teams presented their ideas which were both very good. Cramlington came up with the idea of a ‘pirate passport’ and made their presentation dressed as Pirates, The Seaton Valley group had made an activity book to promote sea safety and even included a song in their presentation, this was very impressive.

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The teams were then asked to step out of the boardroom whilst the Panel decided on the winner……


The judges were very impressed with all three product ideas and found it very difficult to choose an overall winner.

In third place was the Blyth group (us)- the judges really liked the idea of our product and didn’t want all of the planning to go to waste so have agreed to give the young people a pot of funding so they can make their product and sell the ‘Maritime Mixups’ from Silx during the Tall Ships Event, also they were so impressed with the Tall Ship this is going to be put onto a plinth and given a plaque and be presented during the event.

Next was the big surprise of the weekend….

Cramlington and Seaton Valley came joint first place as the judges couldn’t choose between the two similar ideas, so they want both groups to work together to make one product that will double up as a Pirate Passport/Activity Guide, watch this space as these will be put into production and sold during the Tall Ships Weekend.

The young people had a great time and although they didn’t win they learnt a lot of new skills and definitely grew in confidence throughout the weekend and workers couldn’t be prouder of them all, little entrepreneurs in the making!






Success at Northumberland’s Finest……

On Friday 5th February workers and young people were invited to the Northumberland Finest Awards at Newbiggin Sports Centre. This event is held every year to celebrate all of the fantastic youth work that goes on across the county and is presented by Northumberland County Council’s Youth Service.

This year we were nominated for four awards:

The Leader of the year Award (Karl Hanson)- Karl has been volunteering for Silx for the last 2 years and attending our sessions for a lot longer. During this time Karl has developed into a leader and mentor encouraging the other young people to get involved in activities he is also heavily involved with our six-aside football team and our In The Mix Djing project.

The Volunteer of the Year Award (Silx Young Volunteers)- We have a group of 30 young people who over the last 12 months have been actively involved in running our teen bar sessions, organising the youth festival, raising money and running health and wellbeing nights.

Community Safety Award (Silx Intergenerational Project)- This project is a partnership between ourselves and Athlone Court and was set up to bridge the gap between the older and younger generations in Blyth and improve the perception of Young people in the area. The young people have visited the home, been on trips with the residents and even put on a Christmas Party.

The Group Impact Award (Silx Teen Bar Youth Project)- We were nominated in this category after being recognised for the impact our project has on the young people in the area and receiving positive comments from both young people and their parents about how Silx makes a real difference to their lives.

The evening began with a welcome speech and a delicious buffet which the young people all enjoyed, then it was time to announce the winners……

We didn’t win in all of our categories but felt very privileged to be nominated alongside other great projects and the young people listened to all of the stories and congratulated all of the winners. The evenings entertainment was provided by Local Band Primary Colours and the very talented Sophie Cunningham.

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Then came the big finale….. the final award of the evening which was saved until the end because it is so coveted. The Group Impact award was presented by Scott Dickinson (elected member for druridge bay and business chair for NCC) AND WE ARE THRILLED TO SAY WE WON! This was really unexpected and all of the workers that attended the ceremony along with the young people were very pleased. Silx is such a popular project attracting over 750 young people in the last year alone. All of the workers here at Silx are passionate about youth work and really love the job we do and this shows in all of the excellent work that takes place throughout the year. The workers and young people have a fantastic relationship and the impact we make on these young people’s lives is unquestionable- to be recognised for this, means such a lot to us!

After receiving our award and after a few words from our senior worker Jackie, the crowd were then entertained with our DVD that we made especially for the evening- showcasing the work that has taken place at Silx over the last year, the music we chose was David Bowie’s Heroes, which we believed was very fitting as we think all of our young people have a story to tell and are heroes in their own right 🙂

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Silx Painting Project

We decided to start 2016 by giving Silx a fresh new look! We enlisted the support of artist and decorater John Craggs to give the staircase and the hall way in Silx a makeover. The young people decided that they wanted to put some more colours on the wall and brighten the place up and settled on making a paisley pattern of purples, greys and oranges.

John drew the outline of the agreed designs and then marked out on the walls which colours needed to go where and then the young people got to work filling in the colours, it was a little bit similar to ‘paint by numbers’ and the young people had a great time, they all had a very steady hand and the results were fantastic. The project took place over two Saturdays and the young people worked incredibly well as a team and built on their confidence by learning a new skill.

The workers and John were very impressed with the results, take a look at the photos I’m sure you will agree it looks much better 🙂




The corridor before…..


The Corridor during the makeover……


Corridor after…..


The stairs before……


During the makeover….


Staircase after…..

Merry Christmas from Silx!!

We cannot believe that another year is nearly over and although it’s still a whole week until Santa arrives we have been in the full Christmas Spirit since the beginning of December, take a look at what we have been up to……

Blyth Christmas Market- £100 Challenge

The festivities began on the 5th December when we had our stall at this years Christmas Market in the Keel Row. The young people took part in this year’s £100 challenge whereby they had to use £100 on a project and make the money back plus a profit. The young people decided this year they were going to make Christmas Eve plates- they were very popular and were flying off the shelves like hot cakes! The young people did very well and by the end of the day we had sold out and they had smashed their target! The money raised was to go towards their Christmas Party!

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Pantomime @ The Phoenix Theatre

It’s not Christmas without a trip to the Panto! This year the fantastic Phoenix Theatre in Blyth are showing ‘Aladdin’ On Wednesday 9th December our workers took 20 young people to see the show and it didn’t disappoint! The actors were brilliant, they put on a fabulous performance and really got the crowd involved! Our personal highlights were the crowd getting soaked by Wishy Washy and Widow Twanky and we thought PC Pong was hilarious! The show really is brilliant and for it being put on at our local theatre made it even better, well done to the Phoenix!

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Aladdin and the girls of Peking….

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Grand Finale…..

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The Girls Enjoying the Show…..


Silx Christmas Party…..

We have a Christmas Party every year at Silx, it’s a great way for the young people and workers to celebrate the year! We have had a great 2015 with lots of exciting things happening including our win at the PoSBOS last week! We decided to throw our bash on Wednesday 16th December and the young people used the money raised from the £100 challenge to buy decorations and food and we had a good old knees up! The young people enjoyed a buffet, disco, Karaoke and lots of fun, games and exciting prizes! It was a wonderful way to end the year and everyone had a fantastic night! All the young people that attended got a Christmas Present from Silx too, which they all loved!








Thank you for reading our blog, we are looking forward to keeping you updated with everything we get up to in 2016. We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! 🙂




PoSBO Award Success….

On Thursday 10th December we were invited along with a group of young people to the Baltic in Gateshead for the 6th Annual PoSBO Awards hosted by Youth Focus North East. The awards are held each year to celebrate young people in the North East and all of the fantastic work involved in supporting these young people.

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This year we were shortlisted for 3 Awards:

The Intergenerational Award

The Best Youth Project

The Participation Award

We were the only organisation that were shortlisted for more than one award so we were very honoured and the young people were very excited and proud.

The night began with a red carpet arrival and entertainment was provided by the very talented Millie Eve and then the winners were announced….

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The first award we were up for was the Intergenerational award, we were nominated for this because of all of the fabulous work we have done to bridge the gap between the older and younger generation in Blyth- we were up against Northumbria University for this particular award and to our delight we won! This means so much to us as all of our youth workers and young people have worked incredibly hard and this is a real achievement and we are so proud to have this work recognised. Georgia, Abbigail, Keighleigh and Paul went on to the stage to collect the award that was sponsored by Gentoo and were very excited!

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The night continued with a delicious buffet and more entertainment courtesy of Kieran Scaplehorn, the next two awards we were shortlisted for we didn’t win but were honoured just to be nominated alongside other fantastic projects. Just to be recognised in three categories for the brilliant work we have done was such an achievement in itself and the young people were so happy!

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The whole night from start to finish was incredible and credit must go to the talented Steering Group from Youth Focus North East who organised the event.

We are overjoyed to have won and our young people will be celebrating our win with their Christmas Party next week!

Positive Partnership with Bazaar Group means employment for our young people

We are very excited here at Silx at the moment, why? well in the last week or so we have managed to secure seasonal employment for 6 young males thanks to our fantastic partnership with Cramlington based bean bag manufacturer Bazaar Group, and that’s not all in the last 2 years two of our young people have gained full time employment at the company thanks to our connection 🙂

Calum was referred to Bazaar from us in November 2013 as a temporary warehouse operative and thanks to his hard work and determination he has now been trained as a printing operative and works full time for the company. Sinead was referred to Bazaar by ourselves in September this year and is now employed full time as a Customer Care Apprentice and is doing really well.

Sinead (on the right) enjoying her new role at Bazaar

Sinead (on the right) enjoying her new role at Bazaar

Our progression worker used to work for Bazaar and because of this connection they trust us to refer to them hardworking, skilled young people who might not have a lot of confidence or qualifications but have the drive and determination to succeed if given the chance. In October we were asked if any of our young people would be interested in doing some work in their warehouse over the Christmas period- during our 1st Step employability sessions we discussed these roles with the young people and sent off CVs- this then led to 6 of our young males being offered work trials which they all completed successfully and they are all now working full time on the run up to the festive season!

We are very honoured and proud to be connected to such an innovative and exciting business, and we are very grateful to them for giving our young people the opportunity to show what they can do and we are looking forward to see how these young people grow and progress under the supervision of Bazaar! We will keep you all updated on further developments…….

Check out the article in last week’s Journal all about our partnership and the Journal’s ‘let’s work together’ campaign:

Bean Bag Bazaar:



Bonfire Night and National Youth Work Week

Last week was National Youth Work Week, The national youth agency celebrate this each year and it provides an opportunity for youth organisations, youth workers and young people to celebrate their achievements and the impact of their work. The theme this year was ‘Have Your Voice Heard’ this was to encourage young people to speak out about issues they feel were important- Our young  people decided they wanted to focus the week on Bonfire night and fire safety and encouraged each other to ‘stay safe on bonfire night’

Guy Fawkes Masks and Explosive Sweets

During the week the young people learnt all about Guy Fawkes and why we celebrate Bonfire Night. On Monday night they made Guy Fawkes Masks, they enjoyed finding out about him and what he did and what he looked like and recreated the famous mask, they also made sweets to look like dynamite- complete with gunpowder (popping candy)- take a look:

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Penny for the Guy

On Tuesday night we set to work to make our very own ‘Guy’ we bought some old clothes from a charity shop and the young people enjoyed sewing them together and stuffing it full of old newspaper. They got very creative when it came to making his head and worked really well as a team- I’m sure you will agree that the end result was fantastic! Oh yeah the the young people named him GEOFF!

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Firework Safety,Hotdogs and Marshmallows

We had our own ‘fake’ bonfire night on Wednesday 4th as a lot of our young people were going out with their families on the 5th. We began the evening by showing the young people safety films from Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue that show the dangers of messing around with fire and fireworks. One particular film about a 16 year old lad called Ryan really hit home-  this sparked lots of interaction and discussions between our young people and had a great impact on how they were choosing to spend bonfire night with a lot of our young people opting to go to an organised display rather than risking their lives and messing around with fireworks! You can watch the film here:

Once we had watched the films and highlighted the dangers we have some controlled, supervised fun- the young people made and enjoyed hotdogs inside then we headed outside where we set up our small firepit and the young people gathered around to toast marshmallows. The young people had a great night and we advised them that Bonfire night is great fun as long as you stay safe…….

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Spooooky Half Term Fun……

We can’t believe half term has been and gone already! Before we know it- it will time for Santa to arrive!

Half term arrived like a bolt out of the blue in October with the school’s breaking up on the 23rd for a week- we like to encourage our young people to get out and about when school’s out so we planned a jam packed week of activities……..

Dynamix Skatepark- Gateshead

Our detached team have been out and about on the streets of Blyth, working with groups of young people since July. In our last blog post we mentioned that they had built up great relationships with certain groups that don’t always make use of the youth provision available to them and had planned a trip to Dynamix. Well, that trip took place on Sunday 25th October- the workers took 11 young lads along and they had a fantastic time using the scooters to do tricks on the ramps and landing in to the foam pits! They really enjoyed watching the talented staff show off their skills on the trampoline and want to plan a trip to do extreme trampolining next…..

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Halloween- Spooky Creations & Halloween Party

On Wednesday 28th October our workers took a group of young people to the ‘Spooky Creations’ event at The Discovery Museum in Newcastle. The young people had a great time getting involved in lots of Halloween based arts and crafts, dancing, cooking and face painting ahead of the Halloween Party at Silx that evening……. We transformed Silx into a ‘Haunted Teen Bar’ and the young people had a fantastic night partying with us- earlier in the week they made chocolate apples and edible eyeballs which they enjoyed on the night along with pizza and party food! The young people danced and played lots of games including Apple Bobbing, The Mummy Game (which involved a lot of toilet roll!), Musical Statues and team games which meant they all worked together! It was a fantastic night and there were some brilliant costumes- check out the photos!

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Ice Skating @ Whitley Bay Ice Rink…..

The young people loved their trip to the ice rink in the Summer and requested to go back in Half Term, on Thursday 29th October our workers took a group to Whitley Bay ice rink for the afternoon and they had lots of fun showing off their skills on the ice and I’m sure we will back there again soon…..

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We had a fantastic Half Term and we are now looking forward to the Christmas Holidays…….

Sucessful Detached project gives Silx a shake up!

As well as running our Teen Bar indoors we also have a detached team that work on the streets of Blyth to engage with young people that don’t access any youth provision.

Our regular detached work began at the beginning of July and our workers go out every Wednesday and Friday night and visit the Sports Centre Skate Park, Newsham, South Beach Park, Briardale centre, Isabella Centre area, Axwell Drive and Ridley Park. All of these places have been reported as hotspots for teens to hang around. Over the past two months our workers have met with over 300 young people and have built up a really positive rapport/relationship. The young people have been encouraged to come into Silx and are now even planning a trip to Dynamix Skate Park on a Sunday afternoon which is a fantastic achievement in such as short space of time.

Friday nights are probably the busier of the two nights our team go out and the one place that seems the most popular is Ridley Park, the park attracts well over 100 young people every week and residents and police were becoming concerned about the volume of young people descending on the park. After speaking to the young people and gathering feedback our detached team discovered that the main reason for going there is because they felt on a Friday there ‘was nothing to do’ or ‘nowhere to go’ so with that in mind Silx decided to help! For a long time now Silx has been open on Monday-Thursday evenings providing a mixture of recreational and educational activities, BUT NOW we are open on Friday nights too! Our first Friday session took place on Friday 2 October and nearly 50 young people were diverted from the park to us and had a great time! We are really pleased with the impact our detached team has made on the young people hanging around on the streets of Blyth and we are very excited to see how our Friday sessions develop…..

As well as opening on Friday nights we have decided to give Silx a bit of a shake up on other nights too as we don’t want the Teen Bar to become boring!



Enjoying healthy fruit off the streets…


Thumbs up for our new nights!


  • We have joined forces with The Blyth Academy and we now offer a ‘younger’ session on a Monday night which is for school years 7, 8, 9 only, this means the younger teens can enjoy a night just for them and get to know Silx and the workers.
  • Tuesday night is no longer in the mix, Tuesday is now a more chilled out night- young people can play their music, we have arts & crafts going on, pool competitions and we are planning a monthly movie night where we will be turning Silx into a Cinema! (free food courtesy of Greggs each week too)
  • Wednesday nights are dedicated to health and wellbeing and we offer a range of activities including healthy cooking which is very popular
  • Thursday night remains as ‘IN THE MIX’ all the young budding MC’s and DJ’s still come down to showcase what they can do and we provide FREE food from GREGGS
  • Friday night- A great alternative to hanging out in the streets, chill out with friends, a variety of music played all night, xbox, pool and free food!

We now offer FREE WIFI in all of our sessions too 🙂