Empowering Consett’s Youth

Blog / March 16th, 2022

Morpeth Castle - A Weekend of Culture to Inspire our Youth Panel


Building Self-Belief’s mission as a charity it to empower young people and give them the strategies and the self-belief to take ownership of their lives. Our mission is to “Build Stronger Communities through Building Self-Belief’ and we feel that a strong Youth Panel is the perfect way to give young people a voice and ensure that they have a say in their own community.

We were delighted to win a weekend at Morpeth Castle, donated to us by the Landmark Trust. We decided to use this opportunity to work with our Youth Panel. In collaboration with Karbon Homes, we have been working with the young people in the town, with the aim of creating a Youth Manifesto that will guide the people of Consett and persuade them to take action to make Consett a more inviting place for our young people. Our aim is to make Consett a place that they can enjoy living in, and a place that they would like to stay.

Our Survey

In preparation for the weekend, we conducted a questionnaire asking the people of Consett how they feel about the town and what they think should be done to improve it. It is the result of this surrey that will form the Youth Manifesto for Consett.

Morpeth Versus Consett

As part of our weekend of activities, on the Saturday, we paid a visit to Morpeth town centre and the panel investigated what Morpeth have done to make their town centre an inviting place to visit. The panel made some notes and suggestions about how we could use some of their ideas to improve Consett.

The Suffragettes

In the afternoon we took advantage of the fabulous location, and the panel planned a walk around the grounds and Carlisle Park. We found a statue of Emily Davison, the Suffragette. Fighting for women’s suffrage is a perfect theme for our weekend. She serves as an important historical figure to inspire them and give them the confidence to make a stand and fight for a better deal for the young people in the town of Consett, as well as providing the motivation to fight for 16-year-olds to have the opportunity to vote, in line with Scotland.

Their Youth Manifesto

We provided the panel with a variety of designs for their Youth Manifesto and they decided on the style that they liked the best. We then worked on what we would include in our Youth Manifesto. The outcome will be a combination of the results from our survey and the ideas for improving the town from the research completed by our Youth Panel. Their suggestions include:

  • Improve the arcade – make it more inviting
  • Making Middle Street a more desirable place to visit
  • Providing a series of pop-up events linked to Eco Projects and the Arts
  • Have a more inclusive approach to sport in the area
  • Improving the bus station, making it safer for everyone
  • Music events for young people
  • Mixed festival events that include elements for young people
  • Somethings similar to what was Inshops – where there were lots of independent stalls selling a whole variety of goods in one location
  • A better variety of street foods - not just pizza and kebab takeaways
  • More leisure facilities – bowling was particularly popular in the survey. Somewhere for everywhere to go where we can stay in the town to socialise
  • Find a venue for young people to use as a base in the town centre that welcomes young people
  • 16 year olds getting to vote


Exploring Northumberland

On the Sunday, we made a visit to the unique Druridge Bay and had a bracing walk on the beach. It was a bright, fresh day and it was a brilliant way to be able to celebrate the very best of the Northumberland coastline. You cannot leave the Northeast Coast without fish and chips, so we made a visit to Amble, and celebrated the English seaside tradition of sitting outside having our fish and chips. A trip around the marina and a quick look at the market and then back to the castle!

Their Plans – Pop Up Events

Their plans also include some pop-up events for the young people of Consett, we are going to hold a combination of pop-up events linked to wellbeing, youth democracy and the environment. The panel have come up with some fabulous ideas to get other young people involved in the arts and raise awareness about the environment.

Thank You

It was a fabulous weekend – and we greatly appreciate the donation of such an amazing location from the Landmark Trust. It was useful to be able to get the young people our of their usual environment and show then what is possible with some imagination and a drive for success. We would also like to thank Karbon Homes for their ongoing support of the panel and for our future pop-up events in the town.

‘I had a great weekend; it was good to be out altogether and being in the castle made us all feel very special’

‘We loved the castle, standing at the turrets, looking over the town, walking in the grounds; and being so near to the town and the beach made it even better.”

Join us?

Are you interested in joining our panel? We are always looking for motivated young people to join us. You can help out at our events, plan and deliver your own events. It is for 14–24-year-olds, please come and join us, and help us make Derwentside a better place to live for our young people.

Get in touch

Blog / March 25th, 2020

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Films / August 2nd, 2021

Norham Boys | Raising Aspirations and Employability

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Podcasts / May 5th, 2022

Helen Cowan | Founder of The Tall Wall and Executive Coach

Helen describes how her positions at KPMG evolved into her creating her own company as a collective of executive coaches. She gives young people brilliant advice about how to create a positive approach to embarking on a career. Most notably 'If you don't ask, you don't get'. Take a listen and get some expert career coaching tips from Helen.