Skills and Opportunities Fund- RESULT!

You will recall from previous blog posts that we asked for your support in voting for us in the RBS Skills and Opportunities fund recently. We campaigned on our blog, Facebook and Twitter and so many of you shared and voted. We are so pleased to tell you that from over 1,000 entries and a short-list of 88 organisations thanks to your votes we were one of the lucky winners in the north region and were awarded an amazing- £25,532!!!!!! SEE THE FULL LIST OF WINNERS HERE:

This money will be used to develop our 1st step employability project and put towards funding accredited courses for the young people that attend these sessions and will massively benefit the young people of Blyth! We were paid a visit recently from representatives from RBS and they witnessed first hand the amazing work that goes into our 1st Step sessions- they were very surprised to learn about the high unemployment rate in the 16-25 age group in the area and were very impressed with the service we offer to help these young people get themselves back into education, training or employment. They chatted with workers and young people and presented us with the cheque, check out the photos that you will also be able to see in the local press soon!





Arts Award with The Sage Gateshead

The young people that have been studying for their Arts Award and learning to DJ with the talented Wendy and Adam from the Sage, finished their course last week after a fun packed 10 weeks. The last session was held on Thursday 2 July and the young people set Silx up as a ‘cinema’ using the large projector screen to showcase the musical films they had all made, they bought some popcorn and sat back and enjoyed each others work. We must say we are extremely proud of the results- check them out for yourself:

Donna, Helen and Bradley’s Film:

Bradley, Donna and Helen created a film to show two sides to Blyth through the eyes of young people- they show Blyth in a bleak way in the beginning and then they show Silx as somewhere to escape the daily grind, somewhere fun and upbeat. The track used in this film features the young people on the steel pan drums, Bradley produced the track and I am sure you will agree the result is phenomenal- check it out here:

Shurn & Josh’s Film:

Josh and Shurn are regular’s at our ‘In the Mix’ night’s and are experts on the decks- their film captures their skills on the decks and shows exactly what we do here every Tuesday and Thursday night- check it out here:

All of the young people involved with this course have gained an Arts Award Qualification and have really grown in confidence, some of them will be showing on their Skills and hosting a workshop at our youth festival on Thursday 23rd July- come down and see them!





Trip to the Sage Gateshead……

You will know from previous blog posts that we currently have a group of young people completing a DJ/Employability Course here at Silx every Tuesday & Thursday afternoon and the course is ran by Wendy and Adam from The Sage Gateshead. As part of the course the young people are completing an Art’s Award which has various different modules, as part of this they had to go on a visit to The Sage and find out a bit more about how it is ran, what the different departments do and also get involved with some music while they were there!

On Thursday 21st May, Sarah (our progression worker) and the 8 young people completing the course met Wendy and Adam at the Sage and had a great afternoon there.

The day began with a tour of the Main Hall and the music rooms surrounding it- the young people found out that these rooms can be hired out by people working at or completing courses through the sage to learn and practice different musical instruments. The main hall was massive and very high! (Sarah actually admitted to being a little bit scared) the young people sat in the chairs, listened to music through the headphone sets that was playing on the big screen and watched the tech guy’s setting up the stage for an event taking place that evening…..


Shurn & Josh listening to the Music being played on the big screen….

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After the main hall the young people headed backstage where they needed to be very quiet as there was a media conference going on while they were there and the technical team back stage’s job is to ensure the music being played out and the coding for the presentation was correct- the young people got to watch this happening live, they explored the dressing rooms and were even shown into a private conference room where very important visitors/performers have lunch and were told the room can even be booked out for Weddings! (Amazing View out of the window of the Quayside) While they were back stage the young people had to complete some work that made up one of their Art’s Award Modules- This included looking for any Health & Safety signs and writing down what they were and how they worked- the young people explored the full back stage area looking a the fire doors, safety tape and extinguishers etc…. They also got the chance to meet Wendy & Adam’s boss and interviewed him to find out more about his role at The Sage, they were all very surprised at how friendly he was as they were expecting ‘THE BOSS’ to be scary…..

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Watching the Tech Guy's Back Stage...

Watching the Tech Guy’s Back Stage…

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After being backstage the young people headed outside to take a look at the Graffiti Art Walls and explore the Arches. The Arches is where CoMusica are based at the Sage and they run different Arts & Music programmes including DJ/MC sessions which some of our young people took part in during their visit and even recorded a mix. The Young people were very impressed with the Graffiti Art and were happy to pose for some photos, even though at this point it was raining! (Yes, that is Sarah with her Scarf over her head)

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Next is where the young people’s confidence was put to the test and we must say we are incredibly proud of them all… they were taken to the large admin floor which consisted of rows of desks and people working away (Adam, who works there himself even said he found the admin office a little bit scary) the young people had to buddy up with a member of staff and interview them about their role and find out all about The Sage’s equal opportunities policy- the young people didn’t know they were going to be doing this and took it in their stride and were fab, they all found someone to talk to and got all of the information required for their module- they did say they preferred being ‘thrown in at the deep end’ and learnt lots from the staff they spoke to, this even prompted some of young people to ask how they could possibly get work experience at The Sage in the future which is a very positive reaction!

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The day finished off with some fun….. The young people were taken to one of the music rooms and learnt how to play the Steel Pan Drums, each person was given a role and a different drum and they learnt how to play a song as a band  (They even got Sarah involved!) This was brilliant, the young people worked together as a team and encouraged each other and they end result was incredible. After only an hour of practice the young people ‘performed’ their song to some of the staff from the Sage and they were really surprised to find out that they had only just began learning that day! The young people expressed how  much they enjoyed this part of the visit and it was really nice to see them all learning a new skill together!

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It was a brilliant day and the young people got lot’s of information for their Art’s Award, they are all doing very well on this course, we will keep you updated on their progress 🙂


The Princess Ellie’s Total…..

You may remember last week that we posted about the Princess Ellie’s Trust and how our young people had kept a special ‘Princess Ellie Jar’ behind the bar in Silx and for the last few months have been filling it up with all of their loose change. Well, after presenting Dan & Rachel from the Princess Ellie’s Trust with the Jar we are pleased the confirm the total raised was £80! A MASSIVE THANK YOU AND WELL DONE TO ALL OF OUR YOUNG PEOPLE FOR DONATING THEIR CHANGE TO A FABULOUS CAUSE 🙂

Keighleigh’s Journey- Case Study

keighleigh case study

Keighleigh regularly attends our 1st Step and Teen Bar sessions. Keighleigh was born with a congenital heart disorder has been through heart surgery and left school with no qualifications due to being in hospital a lot. After attending Silx and with support of workers who encouraged her and built up her confidence Keighleigh is now employed at Newcastle United Football Club and is studying Animal Care at Kirkley Hall College! Keighleigh was recently nominated  at the Northumberlands Finest awards and was given a local Northumberland heroes award for over coming barriers and she was also awarded the Young Volunteer Award at this Years Projects with Pride. Well Done Keighleigh 🙂 


Keighleigh with her Volunteer of the year award

Keighleigh with her Volunteer of the year award

Tony’s Story- Case Study


Tony is 23 and has been coming to Silx since he was 13 years old. Tony has been using our 1st Step drop in to carry out his job search and our workers have assisted him with job applications, CV, Cover letters, interview clothes and have even taken him to interviews. After a long period of searching for work and building up his confidence and getting new skills by working with our youth workers he has now found full time employment with Manpower at BT and his confidence and self esteem has come on leaps and bounds. Tony has been keeping us updated with his progress and last week was awarded BT/Manpower’s ‘Advisor of the Week’ WELL DONE TONY 🙂


WE WON!- Projects with Pride

Last night we took 6 young people to the Holiday Inn at Seaton Burn which was the venue for the Projects with Pride Awards hosted by the Northumberland clubs for young people. All of the young people were very excited, especially Keighleigh Cozens who was nominated for the Young Volunteer award. The evening was fabulous, with a guest speaker from Capital Radio and great entertainment courtesy of Bad Apples and Cramlington Voluntary Youth Project.

Then comes the best bit…… WE WON! We are so pleased to tell you that our 1st Step Employability Project which we run every Monday, Wednesday and Friday 12-3 was Awarded the Large Project with Pride Award and Keighleigh Cozens was given the Young Volunteer of the Year award! We are so pleased that our project that helped 53 young people gain employment last year was recognised for the fabulous work that takes place in our little building in Blyth every week! We are also so proud of Keighleigh, she has overcome so many barriers in her life and been through so much and now she is a confident young lady who works hard to get to where she wants to be! (see our case study blog post all about Keighleigh’s journey here-

Northumberland Clubs for Young People put on an amazing event and all of our young people had a Brilliant time, it was great to see all of the other projects from Northumberland in one place celebrating all of the inspiring work that goes on for young people in our fantastic county!

Keighleigh Cozens- Volunteer of the year

Keighleigh Cozens- Volunteer of the year