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Truth About Youth DVD

Young people created a DVD to stimulate discussion about attitudes to young people and to challenge stereotypes.

Who Took Part

Nearly two dozen young people who have been working together on initiatives with the Regional Youth Work Unit in the North East.


To create a DVD to be sent to Policy Makers and media representatives and used by young people to stimulate discussion about attitudes to young people – and especially to challenge stereotypes.

What Happened

The ideas for the DVD were developed in several sessions with members of the group. One great idea was to use a “Truth Tree” onto which people would stick adjectives they thought applied to young people. After a bit of searching around for a tree we could take out on filming, a fantastic wooden tree was made and it worked a treat.

Two filming days were spent with the young people talking to shoppers, at Gateshead’s Metro Centre and Newcastle’s Eldon Square. They got nearly 600 words on the tree. The biggest group were positive – the word “fun” was used the most. But there were also quite a few negative words – 239 – “lazy” and “selfish” featured, also “disrespectful”. And 87 were neutral.

The group discussed how to convert the neutrals and negatives. They put examples in their film of different positive projects they’ve done to help people and took on a new challenge during their school holidays to re-furbish a neighbourhood centre . And they also explored whether there is more young people can do to tackle negative perceptions. Sometimes parents “mollycoddle” by making all the food and doing the washing – they suggested that young people can insist on doing more around the house. And maybe not phone down from bedrooms on the mobile asking to be brought food and drinks!

Sharing the Results with Others

A 15-minute DVD which had its premiere screening at the Tyneside Cinema. It is also being used in discussions and presentations to encourage people to re-think stereotyped views and also encourage more positive media coverage, and is being sent to policy makers and to the media.

Benefits for Participants

The young people were very proactive in putting forward their own ideas and discussing how to turn them into reality. Project Leader Laura Iveson, a member of the Regional Youth Work Unit, was heavily involved in developing the location shoots, and imaginative in overcoming obstacles. The young people gained experience in filming on location and reviewing roughcuts.

Client and/or Funder

This project was commissioned by the Regional Youth Work Unit, based in Gateshead, using funds provided by the Co-operative Foundation.

Who Else Would Benefit from this sort of Project?

This approach to creating a DVD will work for most schemes – it’s great to allow enough time before starting filming to give everyone a chance to feed in their ideas and help shape the content, structure and style, and to set key milestones in advance to make sure there are no delays to completing the project.

How to Find Out More

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