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Youth group gets monthly venue in Leeds city centre

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  • by Anders Anglesey and Jamie Smith
 

More than 100 members of the public came to see children and young people showcase their talents at The Fly Market in Leeds Corn Exchange.

The street culture masterclass offered exciting opportunities for young people to take part in beatbox battles, Hip-Hop skipping- aka Double Dutch - competitions, while also learning skills that they can transfer to other parts of their lives.

The event was hosted by youth work organisation Speak To The Streets. They previously held their monthly gatherings at the Holy Trinity Church on Boar Lane, but recently moved to the nearby Corn Exchange.

Speak To The Streets creative director, Shane Fenton, believes that through street culture young people can learn vital life skills through things they enjoy doing.

He said: “I am big on transferable skills.

“Through skills like rapping young people have learned how to’ read and write because they have worked out that they are connected and get them into things like poetry.”

Shane wants to take back the term ‘street culture’ away from its possible links to gang violence so it can be positive force in communities across Leeds.

Shane added: “When I was a young person street culture was about crews.

“Crews were about style, creativity and playing music to people in back in the 1980s and it has digressed, but we are trying to bring it back to the way it was.”

Through the work it does with young people in Leeds, Speak To The Streets is carrying on the legacy of Shane’s mother, Pat Regan.

Pat worked tirelessly against gun violence before she was tragically killed in avoidable circumstances in 2008, and is still remembered fondly by people in Leeds for the work she did.

Central Leeds MP, Hilary Benn, has praised the positive influence of Pat and the work Speak To The Streets does.

He said: “Anything that encourages young people to turn away from this way of life is to be warmly welcomed.

“Pat was passionately committed to opposing gun and gang violence.”

Now at a new venue, Speak To The Streets will continue to work with children to improve their circumstances, and offeropportunities to develop their individual skills.

It also aims to give them advice that they can take into other parts of their lives and progress as musicians and artists.

The Fly Market is split 
into workshops, stalls, competitions .

It features live performances and welcomes young people between 11 and 19 who want to experience something new.

 

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