'Newblood' needed for youth music project

YOUTH music project Newblood is looking for exactly that to keep it rocking into the future.

The group organises monthly live music nights for teenagers at The Forum, on Borough Road, Darlington, but cuts in funding and founding members moving on have led to the scheme needing new supporters if it is to survive.

Previously it benefitted from Darlington Borough Council grants and a dedicated worker from the authority’s youth service but these have been withdrawn and in an effort to attract more members it has launched a Newblood Live website alongside Twitter and Facebook profiles.

Volunteer Gary Arnold is optimistic that funding can be found to keep the project running and hopes the use of online social media will boost audience numbers.

“The local authority itself funded us directly over the years which has been a big help, but things are tight for them now that the youth service has closed,” he said.

“Funding from the council has completely dried up, there is no additional money there to support us.”

Newblood Live was originally set up in 2007 by former Darlington member of Youth Parliament, Ashleigh Trevarrow, who wanted to create a safe, social environment for the town’s youth while promoting local young musicians.

It was a roaring success and its monthly gigs attracted more than 200 youngsters but attendance has dwindled to lows of 60 over recent months and it is hoped the new website will reinvigorate the project.

Photographer Ellie Ward, 24, built the website and is also keen to use her expertise to help improve Newblood youngsters’ career prospects.

The first live gig she ever photographed was at Newblood and she went on to snap big acts such as Lily Allen and Scouting for Girls.

She said: “It is not just about music, there are volunteers here who can help teenagers with lots of things.

“People have gone on from here to study music at university or get into events management jobs.”

Sharron Trevarrow, Ashleigh’s mother and Newblood volunteer, added: “It keeps the kids off the streets; it’s a safe place for everyone where everyone can be themselves.”

The next Newblood Live night is on January 17 at 6.30pm at The Forum and they run every second Thursday of the month except during school holidays. Entry is £3 and events are open to teens aged between 14 and 17-years-old.

The new website address is newbloodlive.com.

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