Shining a Light on Consett Youth – Highly Commended at the NE Charity Awards

Youth Social Action / July 21st, 2023

Shining a Light on Consett Youth – Highly Commended at the NE Charity Awards for their Outstanding Contribution to Social Change

As a Consett based charity, Building Self-Belief, were delighted to have made it to the North East Charity awards final on July 19th 2023, in the category of Outstanding Contribution to Social Change for their work with their Consett Youth Panel.

Our Consett Youth Panel

Our Youth Panel support us on lots of our activities and community events, this has included working on community gardens in Consett and Stanley, Coronation events in Tow Law. And most recently working with local artist Tommy Anderson to create a new Youth Banner for Consett, as part of our Consett Heritage project. Some of them will also be attending the local community talks by ex-steelworkers, as well as conducting their own interviews and podcasts about the town. The aim is to truly put Consett on the map, by celebrating the past, but also by moving forward to create the foundation for a stronger future. We must Than the Landmark Trust for giving us a free weekend at Morpeth Castle to make our plans for our Youth Manifesto that outlines our plans for Consett.

Nuclear Industry Young Generation Network Speaking Competition

All of our young people are amazing, but we are particularly proud of Niamh McDonald who we entered for the Nuclear Industry Young Generation Network speaking competition. She spoke about the importance of community engagement in relation to energy, with a focus on the success of the Say No to Consett Incinerator campaign as an example of how young people are genuinely interested in their environment and want to have a say. She had some impressive competition – but she WON! The prize was £300 and she will be taking part in person at the national final being held in Nuclear Week in Parliament (12th - 14th September).

Millfield House Foundation

As a finalist we were on the top table with the sponsors, Millfield House Foundation. Based on our discussion with the judges, they said that what most impressed them by the application was the genuine social action taken by the young people, and how important such activities are to raise the profile of communities and to truly empower young people.

Consett’s Young People’s Outstanding Contribution to Social Change

The judges loved the work that we do with the young people, but what most impressed them was our young people’s commitment to a genuine cause that was close to them, and this was their work in support of the Say No to Consett Incinerator campaign. As young people they contributed in a whole host of ways. They attended the protests and marked out the NO on the land for us. They helped plan the coffee morning, where they served tea, did activities like rock painting with the children, prepared and worked on the stalls, and served the tea and coffee. They were at the quiz night where they sold raffle tickets and formed teams to take part. Niamh McDonald delivered speeches as the council chamber against the initial planning application and at the Appeal itself. Our young people also gave interviews to reporters. We also have Darcie Rawlings, who has written a series of articles about the campaign, and who is just beginning on what promises to be a fabulous career in journalism. In addition to these contributions, we had the fabulous 68m of posters drawn by the children of the town, letters written to the planning department to explain how the children felt about the plans. As well as their contributions to the campaign film and the amazing song and video. We all need to celebrate their passion for the town.


Getting to the final for our Outstanding Contribution to Society, selected by the fabulous Millfield House Foundation and from a body as prestigious as the North East Charity Awards is brilliant. BUT, what is more important to us all, is after years of campaigning, we found out on the 26th June 2023 that the Secretary of State had refused planning for the incinerator in Consett. What a victory for the town and what a victory for the young people. It is truly time to let them have say about how they want their town to develop.

Thank You!

A huge thank you to our trustees, supporters, the community, the businesses, and the funders – we could not manage without your continued support. But, most of all we would like to than our young people. Our town full of such fabulous young people. This is just the start of what promises to be a much brighter future for Consett.

Find out more about our Youth Panel

Check out our Chair and CEO at the NE Charity Awards!

Click here

Consett Heritage Project / November 17th, 2023

Edwin Oxley - Consett Heritage Podcast

Edwin started as an apprentice at the Consett Steelworks in 1961, as a 15-year-old. Over time he developed a whole host of skills and describes the excellent training he received both at technical college in Consett and Gateshead, and on the jobs in the boiler shop, foundry, blast furnace, plate mills - amongst others. He worked in every department! Take a listen to his podcast which gives a fascinating insight into the opportunities made available to him and how this gave him a solid foundation for the rest of his working life. He also gives our young people some great advice!

Consett Heritage Project / April 12th, 2024

History of Consett Q and A – Local Mysteries now Solved!

As part of Building Self-Belief’s series of events about Consett’s heritage, local Historian Brian Harrison agreed to be in the spotlight for our Consett’s History Q and A session.

Aspirations and Future Planning / September 3rd, 2019

Starting School

As we approach the ‘big day’ for the students who are either starting school or who are moving up to ‘big school’, I thought I would share my own experience of the preparation for my own first day at school.