Young people are tackling the stresses and strains of being teenagers by setting up their own discussion and creative group.
A group of students from St Aidan’s and St Anthony’s Schools have established Underground Neighbourhood, a group where young people can address the issues that affect them with their peers.
As well as acting as a platform for members to discuss exam and other pressures, it will also be used as a creative outlet where youngsters can express themselves through the arts.
The pupils have teamed up with Washington Mind and Pop Recs for the venture, with group sessions taking place regularly at the Stockton Road culture hub.
It’s been set up by Year 10 and 11 pupils Sam Whitman, Tristan Norris, June Gomez, Yasemin Dogan, Sofia Trovero and Rachel Krajovska.
Tristan said: “It’s a group run and led by young people, for young people, a place where they can get together and talk about problems.”
Sam added: “We’re at an age where people aren’t necessarily mature enough to talk casually with their friends about their feelings, it can be a bit of a taboo subject, especially in an all-boys school.
“It started off as a discussion group, but it’s becoming more about what we can do to help other young people and break down barriers.”
The young people were inspired to start the group after being visited by a representative from Washington Mind Young People’s Project who held sessions within their schools.
Yasemin said the sessions were a great help.
“Most of us are sitting exams next month, but it can be difficult to find places to go in school where you can talk about how you’re feeling,” she said. “That’s why we decided to hold our sessions somewhere informal, like Pop Recs.
“We know the issues young people are going through, because we are going through exactly the same things.
“We want young people to realise that they can talk about how they’re feeling.”
Tristan added: “I came up with the name Underground Neighbourhood, because as a teenager you can feel as if you’re not accepted by society, as though you’re underground.
“But then neighbourhood because we want to show people that we’re an informal community, and also that it’s fun too. We don’t take it too seriously.”
Angela Wilson, lead counsellor at Washington Mind Young People’s Project, said: “At Mind we feel very strongly about young people being able to access support in informal ways.
“So what this group is doing is absolutely fantastic.”
The group is keen to attract more young people, aged 11-18, to attend sessions with a launch event taking place at Pop Recs on May 31, featuring live music from The Lake Poets and Barry Hyde.
Tickets for under 19s will be available for three days from Wednesday in store at Pop Recs. They go on sale to everyone else online at music glue and in Pop Recs from 9am on Saturday.