Chat Trust, a youth scheme that has helped many young people in the North East, is in danger of being shutdown.
The project has cultivated some of the finest hip-hop artists in the North East and has pushed many other young people towards creativity and off the streets.
We spoke to well know youth support worker and hip-hop artist Rex Regis to find out more about Chat Trust and why it needs help.
What is Chat Trust?
Chat provides a safe place for young and sometimes hard to engage people, ranging from the ages of 13-21 within the NE4 area of Newcastle.
With simple things like drop ins, where we offer Playstations, Laptops, among other things, the young people can interact with each other in a way they may usually not have the oppurtunity to due to the distractions of the outside world.
We also house a high standard recording studio in which young people can try/develop/perfect their own musical sound, leading to the creation of music videos, participation in live events and even radio play.
As well as this, we have an outreach project where we hold a ‘youth club’ style event in Nunsmoor Park. We do things such as BBQ’s, Football, Rounders and table top games. Finally, we run a scheme called ‘Reclaim The Lanes’, where we encourage not only young people but also their parents and other residents to take better care of their back lanes. Then we have parties for everyone in the community that contributed, to come and be a part of.
Why does Chat Trust need help?
We were recently turned down for new funding for my post as a Youth Support Worker, the original funding ran out back in April and I’ve stayed on a reduced wage since. We soon learnt that one of the reasons for us being turned down was due to a lack of funds needed for the building to stay open. Our boss, Caroline’s funding ends come the end of September. We’re currently looking for funding to at least stay open until 2018, in order to continue our efforts in trying to find further funding. If we can’t find/do something about the current situation by 2018, we will most likely close.
Who are some of the artists that have came up with help from Chat Trust?
Myself for one. Even though I’ve been a member of staff for the most part, this place has given me the time and resources to really find my way in the earlier days of my music career, to the point where a lot of things are now second nature to me.
Kay Greyson… What can I say about my little sister that ain’t been said already? She was my inspiration, and to see and hear her shine is amazing.
Kema Kay… Kema was around in the early days even before my time here at Chat. He has went on to produce some great music and has even taken his talents to great heights with acting; he recently appeared in ‘I Daniel Blake’ and is now currently a trustee for chat, helping to spear head the funding calls.
Gypsy Lipstick… Anyone who knows me musically has asked about these girls. Truth be told I was never supposed to work with them, but here we are and they’re pretty much ready to drop their first mixtape when they return to the UK.
Zombie Killerz/Unczech’d… These young boys went from wannabes to superstars, appearing on the BBC and generating great view counts on YouTube from their followers. Even though they all might not be involved these days, they all have made an impact.
… and that’s just to name a few.
Why is Chat Trust so important?
Given the names listed in the last question, we want to maintain those names and also add to the list of successful musicians. But at the same time we need the building open as it offers that safe place needed to avoid the may troubles the world has to offer. If you take us away, you take the heart out of the NE4 area. So many people pass by, from people just sticking their head in the door to those who we just can’t seem to get rid of…in a nice way. To lose that means a lot to us, eventually I could find a new job, so could my boss..but the service offered here can’t be replicated by others, it can only be continued by us.
You’re performing at the O2 Academy with Kay Greyson, Kema Kay and Max Gavins next month, tell us a bit about that.
Yes, on September 5th we are in the O2 Academy for two reasons. It’s a fund raising event for Chat Trust and it’s also a farewell to my sister Kay Greyson before she heads off to London for Uni. The event is 14+, tickets are £5 and can be bought from the O2 box office, online, from myself, Kema Kay and Chat Trust.
On the bill includes, myself, Max Gavins, Kema Kay and a collection of young artists from Chat Trust, like Zombie Killerz, Gypsy Lipstick, Solo, SD and more. The event will be hosted by J-Man.
What does Chat Trust mean to you?
This is where people would say something cheesy like ‘it means the world to me’ or something like that. But Chat Trust literally means life to me. If I wasn’t there I’d be in a dark place. I’ve had a lot of hardship that people might not know about. On a personal level, being here has helped me get over as well as make up for those hard times. Professionally, this is all I have and it’s all that I can do. If this place goes then I’m back to working in bars or cleaning, which I am not dissing, but I have worked for over ten years to get to where I am now, and at thirty I don’t want to face having to start over doing something else. So it literally is life to me.