Real Voice Year Two

July 2022- September 2023

Real Voice is an inclusive Youth Music project for young people across Northumberland.

Image credit: Helix Arts


This project is supported by a number of partnerships including Cramlington Town Council, Real Deal Plus, Cramlington Voluntary Youth Project and Cramlington Learning Village.

Real Voice was an inclusive, new and exciting youth music project for Northumberland. Working across four satellite sites in Ashington and Cramlington, young people had the opportunity to develop new music skills, increase self-esteem and have fun.

Supporting young people to build confidence, develop skills and interests, motivate and stretch abilities. It developed regular music engagement and activity with professional musicians, and encouraged audiences for their work. Participants had the opportunity to take part in events management training, and plan, deliver and perform in their own live events.

Year Two

In Year 2, young people are took more control. They formed youth panels, influencing artist recruitment and the artist process, ensuring their voices are heard.

Working with a variety of artists, the young people wrote, composed and rehearsed their own work in both small groups and individually to produce high quality music and drama. A performance, organised and hosted by the young people in Summer 2023 showcased their creations and celebrated their achievements.

Participants then had the opportunity to create their own music. Supported by artists including Kay Greyson, Calum Howard, Beccy Owen, Gareth Davies-Jones and Katie Doherty,  they have taken part in a mixture of group workshops and 1:1 mentoring, allowing them to develop skills and increase their knowledge of the arts industry. The tracks created showcase their individuality and focus on issues from their locality, or those that affect them as young people.

We continued to offer Arts Award accreditation within the project and currently have young people completing Explore and Bronze portfolios.

Listen to the music produced in year two

Scriptwriting with Alison Stanley

During autumn 2022, groups of young people from Real Deal Teen Bar (Ashington) and Cramlington Voluntary Youth Project  worked with local director and writer Alison Stanley to learn the basics of scriptwriting and develop their own drama pieces. Focusing on topics of importance to them, the young people created both group drama writings and individual scripts.

Cramlington Learning Village

Year 9 music students worked alongside artist Beccy Owen to extend their composition skills. Using a variety of song writing entry points including lyric writing, rhythmic work and melodic work, they created an original work titled ‘Confused Jungle’ which focused on life expectations and peer pressure. Two students went on to develop talent through 1:1 sessions with artist singer/songwriter Katie Doherty, writing their own songs and developing their personal practice. The new works were performed at our celebration event in June.

Image Still from CLV Short by film maker Gary Malkin

Image Still from CLV Short by film maker Gary Malkin

Ability 2 Play

Year Two saw Ability 2 Play develop their work with us, becoming full partners in the project. The SEN/D group took part in weekly workshops with artist Gareth Davies-Jones. While group members had mixed levels of experience, many embraced the chance to try something new, developing musical skills and increasing their self-confidence along the way. Whether it was playing instruments, writing lyrics or performing, young people worked with Gareth at their own pace to co-create two pieces, ‘There are better days ahead’ and ‘Our place in this place’ which reflect on their feelings about where they live.


“I’ve been playing the drums. The song involves things that have been happening in people’s lives. I like that it goes loud & goes quiet. It’s interesting. It’s good to be able to let lots of people hear it. We were always having fun.”

Ability2Play Participant

Real Deal Teen Bar

Young leaders from Real Deal took the lead in the second year, influencing artist recruitment and creative direction. Encouraging one another to get involved, young people wrote lyrics, learnt how to rap to a beat and developed performance skills with the support of artist Kay Greyson. Taking inspiration from issues that mattered to them, the young leaders group wrote two tracks ‘Life Expectations’ and ‘Be Right Back’. An Arts Award session gave them the opportunity to work on title images for their songs with graffiti artist Mark Shields.


“The confidence that that has given them… it’s brought me to tears. The kids are getting so much from it – new skills, different types of music, different methods of music, and writing their own songs they’ve gained so much from that. I think they’ve surprised themselves.”

Maria - Real Deal Youth Worker

Celebration Event- June 2023

Family, friends and peers gathered together on 23 June 2023 to celebrate the music and achievements of Real Voice over the last two years. During an evening of live performances, group and individuals proudly showcased the work they had created.

Summer 2023

Throughout the summer young people from Ashington had the opportunity to take part in a variety of workshops gaining skills and the chance to give new things ago. Trying their hand at Clowning, visual arts, animation and song writing, participants were able to express their feelings, become more confidence in performance and have fun. They even took a trip to Newbiggin by the Sea to experience the art trail and art around the area. Getting creative throughout, take a look and listen to the animation below including an original song wrote by the group.

Thank you to our funders.

Thank you to our project funders Youth Music, Northumberland County Council and Tyne & Wear Community Foundation.