Toby is 14, the sole carer for his housebound mother. His life after school is one of caring, cooking and domestic chores. He is up very late playing computer games as a distraction from his life. He has few friends and does not engage in school projects. He is troubled and often in trouble at school
Since participating in one of our TV projects, both writing and acting, his teachers saw in Toby a visible difference in his engagement, ‘he has spoken more in the last months than in his whole school life’. His mother wrote it was the proudest day of her life, her son praised rather than in trouble. Both watched the TV show with neighbours. Just a start, but beneficial.
Aleta thinks black kids always get second best. She grew up in a part of Brighton where she was called names. She was frightened to go to school because of the playground bullies who taunted her because of the colour of her skin.
Aleta is rightly proud of her heritage. We gave Aleta and her friends the opportunity to create their own TV programmes. We love the series and so do all our viewers – a fascinating insight into different foods, different music, different books, different traditions. It makes brilliant TV. More importantly Aleta feels valued and her talents have blossomed. She is truly a star.
We want to involve more Tobys and Aletas by creating project where we welcome these kids to our professional TV studios and then with guided learning and workshops, we help them make their own TV shows which we then broadcast.
The Diversity and Equal Opportunities in Television Report, Sept 2017 criticised main broadcasters’ woeful diversity; clear evidence that underrepresented parts of society are excluded from television. We have access to Latest TV’s studios, so create projects for young people to work with real equipment, guided by professionals to produce real TV, radio and print, that is broadcast or published. They are proud of it. It is exciting and fun and most importantly inclusive.
We transfer skills to them in a very hands-on practical way so they can create media programmes choosing the subjects – they write, script, present, act, direct, film, edit, carry out post-production, manage social media campaigns – in short everything required.
We have developed measurements to assess how it works: increased school engagement, improved attendance, skill development and increased confidence and self-esteem. We foster aspiration, often missing and increase employability/community involvement.
We start with guided workshops at the schools to determine the project brief, the media, write the script, cast and agree all the production elements. The kids pick a title for the show, we think about what set we will need and what other props. Some kids want to do chat shows, some comedy, some drama, some documentary. We try and let them have as much control as possible, so it is truly their shows.
We then organise further workshops to flesh out their ideas, and have a rehearsal
Finally we all go to the TV studio where we film and edit their shows, with guided learning from the professional crew. We have fun.
We buy workshop materials and fund a celebration event. We pay for the transport and the catering to get everybody to and from the studio safely.
We hold a screening for all the city leaders here in Brighton – they loved the last series - and then we broadcast it on Channel 7, so all our young people can watch themselves on TV with their friends and families. We stream their programmes worldwide.