The children range from age five to 26, and produced the film along with six students from a film and media course at Salford University.
The film looks at issues around bullying, and accepting people you don’t know.
“It was a theme they wanted to explore themselves”, says youth worker Sylvia McDowell, who started Positive Moves, a social enterpise based in Irlam which now runs the Irlam and Cadishead Youth Project.
“We started around 9 months ago – we submitted a storyboard of the film to BT who then partnered us with Salford University. It’s been a long process but a great experience for the young people.”
Sylvia – herself expelled from school at 13 and sent to a ‘disruptive children’s unit’ – says that good role models and mentors are key for young people: “I had met some really inspirational people who had a positive impact on me.”
She wants her young people to not just take part, but to become youth workers themselves.
So why is ‘peer education’ so important to her?
“I’d love to sit them on the pot and watch them grow. I just think that young people have a better way of communicating to other young people; they have more empathy and more understanding.
A youth work course will start in Irlam on 19th April, from 12-3pm every Thursday for 16 weeks.
Positive Moves began in 2006 with a small grant of £5,000 which meant they could get a van and employ six young people.
Now, their film is down to the last 36 in the country out of thousands of entries from across the country.
Sylvia says: “We’ve got a good local reputation: we get a lot of parents coming in and asking whether their son or daughter can be part of our group.”
Most of the activities at the Irlam and Cadishead Youth Project are free; they mainly take place at Cadishead Hall and the Acorn Centre, both of which have disabled access.
The 30 children/film stars will head to Leeds on 20th May along with their families for the final event of the BT Big Voice competition. You can help by voting now