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Dedicated to getting YOUR voice heard


Music to our ears? What do the new Echo Arena and Capital of Culture have to offer young people? PLUS...Spice Girls Comeback...Cyber Bullying...EMA - Easy Money?...AND MORE...

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Youth Live

ISSUE O3: SPRING 2OO8 Live in this issue...

The Deputy Editor writes...

HEY FOLKS! Wow - how time has flown, here we are already - issue 3! Editor Stephen’s been really busy with his six A-levels and university interviews of late, so I’m very proud to be guesting as Deputy Editor for this issue. Working with Youth Live is really rewarding and I believe in everything this magazine stands for - giving youngsters the chance to be heard! Having been YCN’s founding Junior Member I have had the pleasure of working with so many talented writers - all of whom share such passion about the things they write. Now, at the age of 18, I still feel angered by the generalisations our generation faces. So I for one am pleased to hear young people voice their opinions, where they are certainly not afraid to speak their minds! So here’s the adults’ chance to listen. Enough of all the wrongs, we claim the right to tell our side of the story! Stay funky folks! x

Joanne McCann, 18 Deputy Editor Deputy Chair, YCN Junior Members Board

COMMENT Valentine: What’s LOVE got to do with it? EMA: Easy Money, Alright?

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SUPPORT ‘Are We There Yet?’ Cyber Bullying No Place Like Verve

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IN THE NEWS Death Penalty: Back From The Dead?


TALENT Ben Hits Right Note For Bands


POP BACK IN TIME Spice Mission Accomplished


CAPITAL OF CULTURE Is There An Echo In Here? Will 08 Make Our City Great?

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YOUR YOUTH SERVICE Making the Right Connexions?


YOUR FUTURE Aim Higher Than The Stars Laying Foundations of a New Career

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HEALTH & WELL-BEING Avoid Cancer Scare with Good Self-Care Sound Advice from Healthmates

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SPORT IN SHORT Cueing Up for Snooker Success Goodbye to my Greatest Passion

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YOUR SHOUT Feedback on Issue 2 Put the YOU in Youth Live

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Youth Live is supported by::

Youth Live

Issue 3 - Spring 2OO8



VALENTINE’S DAY has been and gone, and an estimated £10 billion has been spent on gifts around the world, but what is your say about this holiday? RUVIMBO MUNODAWAFA asks...

What’s LOVE got to do with it? I never get anything back from my boyfriend - he is so unromantic! Claire, 12

I like Valentines Day but I spend a lot of money on my boyfriend…. Jane, 15

I don’t understand why kids love it so much - I just think its wrong, they’re too young… Teacher, 35

Too much anxiety over expressing a love that should be shown everyday. Carl, 22

It’s just a consumerist ploy to cash in on love James, 21

I like it but I wish I had someone to spent it with Kelly, 14

Valentine Facts Every year, one billion Valentines cards are sent - the only other occasion that this surpasses this is Christmas. Teachers receive the most Valentine cards, then children, mothers and wives. The oldest love poem known is dated 3500 BC and was written on clay. The expression “to wear your heart on your sleeve” comes from the Middle Ages when women


wore the names of their Valentine (randomly drawn from a bowl) for one week upon their clothing. The male would send written messages to the lady if he agreed to be her Valentine. Cupid is associated with Valentines Day because he is the son of Venus, the Roman goddess of love. A single flawless red rose framed with babies breath flower is considered the signature bouquet of Valentines Day.

Issue 3 - Spring 2OO8

The heart shape featured on cards and in drawings originated from early attempts of trying to draw an organ no one had seen. Ancient cultures believed the human soul rested in the heart, and the Romans believed the heart to be the origin of love because legend told that cupid would always aim there. In some countries, if a woman accepts a gift of clothing from a man, it means she will marry him.

Youth Live


EMA: Easy Money, Alright? STEPHEN GREATLEY turns the spotlight on the Government’s student finance scheme IF THERE’S one particular aspect of life where us teens aren’t exactly well off (not counting public image) it’s finance. EMA - Education Maintenance Allowance. This is the Government’s answer to a question no one asked. Before we had it, we were happy to work part-time (or live off handouts from our parents wherever possible) and whinge about how skint we were. Now, there is division, and it’s all about who does and doesn’t get this free money. Whether or not you are entitled to EMA depends on your ‘residual household income’ that’s the money your parents earn minus things like pension payments, savings above a certain level and an allowance for any other dependent children. If what’s left is more than £30k, you’ve got no chance. EMA works on a sliding scale: people whose ‘residual income’ is at the £17k or below mark get

the maximum £30 a week, right up to the jammy gets who manage just under £30k a year, who receive a tenner a week. Not only do just about one third of Liverpool students qualify for it, but I’m regularly being told by my friends how this just isn’t enough to get by: it barely covers the essentials such as stationery, food and travel, never mind paying for other things that crop up, such as paying for English texts or school outings. “EMA just isn’t worth the hassle, having to fill in lesson attendance and conduct report cards in depth each week. I’m always having to ask my parents for money they don’t have,” says Hayley, 16, of St. Margaret’s.

The maintenance allowance is designed to enable young people to stay in full-time education post-16. But is it enough? RIGHT: The EMA website

“We deserve more, we work hard in our studies”, adds Jonathan, 17, also of St. Margaret’s. Every little helps… The crux is, that even people in receipt of the full amount of £30 per week

If you wish to comment on Stephen’s article, please write to the address on page 23 or email: for possible inclusion in the next edition. You can also post discussion on the forum at: (who need it the most) don’t even receive as much as people on Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA aka ‘the dole’), who are entitled to £35.65 per week if they are 16 or 17, rising to £46.85 weekly if they are 18 to 24. Why should people who are actively trying to better themselves and increase their chances for the future receive less than people who sit back and do nothing? I know there are many people genuine about seeking work, but it doesn’t take a genius to realise there are also many others with no discernible talent who are happy to scrounge off taxpayers! Perhaps if we didn’t have to pay for other people’s bread money out of taxes, teenagers’ parents would have enough money to actually finance their children’s futures, instead of us even having to apply for EMA in the first place? Q

Youth Live

Issue 3 - Spring 2OO8



are we there yet?

This is the question being asked by a group of young people in a project to challenge prejudice against sexuality. JAMES PRENDERGAST reports from Liverpool’s gay youth group. GYRO (‘gay youth ‘r’ out’) is a social and support group for young gay, lesbian or bisexual people aged 16 to 25. The group runs a weekly drop-in every Thursday night from 7pm to 9.30pm, which provides a friendly, welcoming atmosphere to make young people feel comfortable, especially those who are questioning or struggling with ‘coming out’ - the process of accepting their sexuality. GYRO was set up in 1976 by Friend Merseyside, the local branch of a national befriending and counselling organisation for gay people. A social worker who volunteered for Friend realised that there was little support resources for young gay people in Liverpool and founded the group, which has become the longest running gay youth group in the country – it marked its 30th anniversary in 2006. In January the year, GYRO came in the top three for ‘Best Gay Youth Group’, in the Pink Paper, the national weekly newspaper for the lesbian and gay community. Competition was tough, as more readers than ever cast their votes. GYRO was up against groups from Manchester, London, Brighton and Suffolk.

achieved was by asking people on the street the kind of questions that gay people often get asked, as a kind of reverse psychology to get them to think about how they see gay people, for example:“When did you decide to be heterosexual?” or “Is your heterosexuality a phase?” The DVD is aimed at 13 to 19 year olds - it uses drama, animation, original music and research to present issues such as coming out, bullying at school, harassment at work, love and relationships. Its aim is to convey the message that young lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) people are equally deserving of support for the issues they face in the important years of adolescence from 13 to 19.

Stills from the anti-homophobia DVD (left to right): harassment in the workplace, bullying at school and interviews on the street

Thanks to funding from the national charity Save the Children, GYRO has just produced a DVD and resource pack about the impact of homophobia on young people, focusing on the group’s own experiences. The project, called Are We There Yet? – from Homophobia to Equality, gave group members the opportunity to grow in confidence with the issue of confronting homophobia - the fear and dislike of lesbian, gay and bisexual people which can lead to bullying, harassment, violent assault and, in extreme cases, even premature death.

As society becomes more accepting of sexuality, GYRO is hearing of many more young people as young as 13 who are coming out in school. Some are having positive experiences, but many are not. By raising awareness of the issues they face, GYRO plans to gather the support it needs to launch an after-school group for 13-19 year olds later this year.

GYRO support worker David Cumberland said: “The DVD gives young people the opportunity to share their experiences of homophobia and ways to eradicate it.”

An event to launch the DVD was held at FACT on 25 February, as part of celebrations for LGBT History Month. The event was for adults who work with 13 to 19 year olds, so that they can be more aware of the issue and help to present the film in youth clubs and schools. There are plans for more events for young people later in the year.

The film is also intended to make people think about whether they could possibly be homophobic. One of the ways this was

For further information about GYRO and the Are We There Yet resource pack, visit: Q


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Youth Live



Bullies are now taking advantage of modern technology to target victims anonymously online. ROSIE HORNER reports on the rise of the profile pest IT IS EASIER than ever for young people to get access to computers and the Internet, and websites such as Myspace, Piczo and Bebo have become hugely popular with teenagers. These websites were designed for people who want to share photos and keep in touch with friends, or keep a blog of their everyday life. MSN is also widely used, as a free way to chat online. Eight out of ten teenagers

regular basis - most of us have a personal profile page where people can add comments. Cyber bullying is when people leave comments which offend the owner of the homepage or other people on the site. Cyber bullying is different from other forms of bullying because the victim cannot escape, and can feel intimidated in their own home. Most of the time, cyber bullies don’t know the people they are insulting. The comments are often anonymous - they hide their identity behind a user ID because they are cowards and don’t want to get found out. These people clearly have nothing else better to do than make other feel bad about themselves. Cyber bullies may have been bullied by someone else and

don’t know how to cope OR they are pathetic time-wasters who leave snide comments to make them feel better about themselves. Now social networking websites are trying to put a stop to it by letting you set your homepage to private, which allows only your friends to visit. Piczo also allows you to report insulting comments and gives you an IP address, a unique code that tells you which computer the message has come from. If two messages come from the same IP address, they have been sent from the same computer. If you are feeling intimidated by someone on MSN, block and delete them - they are not worth wasting time over. If messages are repeatedly being left on your profile page by an anonymous user, set it to private for a while. When the bully knows they cannot access it they will move on. Never be scared to tell someone: X X X

access at least one of these websites on a

a family member a friend a teacher. Even if the bully tells you not to tell anyone, don’t listen to them. It is them in the wrong, not you. Don’t suffer in silence. Q

useful websites

Youth Live

Issue 3 - Spring 2OO8



No Place Like Verve Arena Options provides a range of services to support young people through its Young People’s Services programme.


out about the newest facility to be added to their services SET TO OPEN in April 2008, Verve Place is a new supported housing scheme for people aged between 16 and 25 years old.

An artist’s impression of the new supported housing in Warrington

Situated in Warrington, it is located between the residential area of Howley and Warrington Town Centre. It will be run by Arena Options, part of Arena Housing Association, set up in June 2006 to support vulnerable people in the North West. Verve Place will house 38 young people from varying backgrounds, so there will be a balanced community. The young people who will live at Verve Place are homeless and in need of housing support. Many people who will live in Verve Place will have been in care and have moved out of their homes because of problems in their families. Facilities at Verve Place will include an IT Room, training suite, communal lounge and a laundry. It will be a new,

modern and contemporary design. The young people involved have helped with the interior design inside of Verve Place as this will be their home. The new fitted kitchen - young people were involved in the design of their new home

Each resident will have their own onebedroomed apartment with fully fitted kitchen, so they can live independently but safe in the knowledge that the staff and support team are close at hand. Head of Young People's Services, Emma Perris, explained the choice of name for the new building: “The young people voted on a selection of names, but Verve was finally chosen because they felt it had a positive meaning. 'It has nothing to do with the band of that name, and the possible association with their song 'The Drugs Don't Work' was the only negative comment we received,” she added. Verve Place will be supported by staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There will be a multi-disciplinary team, including a Learning Officer, a Clerical Assistant and an Accommodation and Support Officer. Altogether there will be about ten staff at Verve Place. Residents will learn valuable life skills including how to cook and manage their finances. They will also get an education and learn basic social skills to enable them to live independently in the future. Q


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Youth Live


The Death Penalty Back from the Dead? If a policeman came knocking at my door and told me I had committed a crime and I must go to jail I would go, knowing that if I was innocent I would be released when the matter went to trial. If a policeman came to my door and told me he was going to kill me because I had committed a crime I wouldn’t go even if the crime was murder. In a case like that what separates the policeman from me?” Prof Stephen Clark, University of Liverpool When Alexander Pichushkin, known as the Chessboard Killer, was convicted of 48 charges of murder in Moscow last year, his trial shocked the world, with many calling for his execution. Yet in 1998, Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office established a death penalty panel to work towards its international abolition, making representations to countries where it still exists. What has changed in the last decade? One reason the call for the death penalty has been renewed could be the fact since that time the world has became a much darker place. Mass murders are becoming more frequent and criminals are becoming much more brutal. Any country is at risk of a terror attack - since 1998 there have been 311 assassinations or terrorist incidents, a simply horrific figure. However, I think the answer could lay elsewhere. Not a day goes past without some shocking event taking place in the news, yet what are never reported are the events occuring many times a day that are actually good news! Would you really tune into the news if all the top stories were ‘good news’? No, so the sad fact is, bad news sells. Youth Live

RYAN WOODS asks whether taking life as punishment for crime can ever be justified Maybe the answer lies there. People possibly want the death penalty back because they believe the criminals they hear about on the news should be punished with the fullest force of the law. In this country, the fullest force of the law would be a life sentence in jail. Neil Durkin, spokesperson for the human rights charity Amnesty International, believes that jail is adequate because it doesn’t cause pain or physical harm to a person, but at the same time is a punishment. He said: “Many countries that have the death penalty are often under-developed and don’t have the systems in place for a proper trial.” He added: “If a Government uses the death penalty then they are robbing the life of people.” The death penalty ‘lives’ on in many countries; 37 of the 46 African countries still have not abolished the death penalty. Bearing in mind Africa is the world’s second biggest continent, this is an extraordinary figure. However the greatest number of executions happen in China, with 8,000 each year – 92% of the worldwide annual total. In China the death penalty applies to 68 offences, including non-violent crimes such as tax fraud. So why abolish the death penalty? Well, whatever their crime, and whether they are Issue 3 - Spring 2OO8

Protesters take to the streets to campaign against the death penalty. PHOTO: Amnesty International

guilty or innocent, many lives men, women and children - are lost to a system that values retribution over rehabilitation. In the words of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan: “The forfeiture of life is too absolute, too irreversible, for one human being to inflict it on another even when backed by legal process. It is tragic that, while the nations debate this problem people continue to be executed.” For every reason to abolish the death penalty there is one to keep it. Knowing that you face execution if you kill somebody might scare potential murderers. Professor Clark disagrees: “Murderers don’t generally think of what will happen to them they only really think in the short term – the murder.” There is research to back that up - the homicide rate in New York City is much lower then the homicide rate in Texas, although the death penalty is active in Texas but has been abolished in New York. Nobody knows what the future holds, but with the work undertaken by organisations like Amnesty International, the best will be done to stop capital punishment once and for all. Q 09

...TALENT...TALENT...TALENT...TALENT...TALENT...TALENT...TALENT...TALENT...TALENT...TALE LAST ISSUE we reviewed Sefton Youth Music BIG FAT SUMMER BASH. NOW the club for young musical talent IS GOING PRO:

BEN HITs RIGHT NOTE FOR BANDS Youth Live has heard rumours about a new music initiative in Sefton. The Sefton Youth Music Club (SYMC) is relaunching as a Community Interest Company (CIC) to promote local and unsigned bands, by hosting events and through a record label. Although the Big Fat Summer Bash music event at the Carling Academy last summer was successful, the organiser Ben Langfeld said: “SYMC worked well but it didn’t have the same professional image as you can have with a company.” The 18 year-old physics student admits being unable to play an instrument, but

AMY WESTLAKE meets the 18 year old band promoter and entrepreneur behind it all

he says his love of music is what drives him. He is establishing the new company, Live Sounds, with himself as managing director and David Rigby as technical director. He also hopes to recruit two more directors and involve up to 200 volunteers. Ben is currently working with a few local bands, and plans to go further afield with his record label to promote and stage bands from across Merseyside. He wants to enable local bands to pursue their careers in music by providing the right recording equipment, and help young musicians to do something they love to do and have a great time doing it.

Live sounds promises musicians something to shout about

Anyone who is in a band can get in touch. Just look out for local advertising, and the we e bsite: Q

Helping you make the most of Public Transport

Merseytravel, through its Community Links Access Team works with communities on transport issues that affect their lives.

If you have a transport need you would like to discuss please contact us on 0151 330 1300.


Issue 3 - Spring 2OO8

Youth Live


Some people thought Girl Power had gone for good but, as JOANNE McCANN reports, it’s... THE SPICE GIRLS shot to fame as five fierce and fun loving girls who changed the world with the ‘Girl Power’ phenomenon. Now, for the first time in ten years, they are back together and on a worldwide tour, but many have asked asking have the ‘Fab Five’ still got what it takes? Of course they have! Having sold more than 20 million albums worldwide with hits such as Wannabe, the girls left us with lots more to hope for and, with such a quiet split, many fans felt they lacked the sense of closure their loyalty deserved. Though they are the latest in a long line of comeback bands, the tickets for the girls’ shows sold out in just 38 seconds, including 17 nights at London’s O2 arena. This must be proof that they are indeed still immensely popular! The fascination for a Spice Girls comeback has been reported for years showing that, although some do not like to admit it, we have longed for the return of the girls who put the Zig-ah-zig-ah not just into music, but the world! Daniel, 17, of Childwall said: “Oh my god, I have been waiting for this for years!”

Many doubted the girls could still put on a show, now they are all in their 30s and four of them are mothers, but just how wrong could people be? They put to shame measly girl bands who are half their age with mesmerising choreography, glitzy costumes and stunning vocals. Their comeback show was nothing short of spectacular and there wasn’t a person in the room, man or woman, fan or not who remained sitting during the show. The Spice Girls succeed not just because they are amazingly talented, but because they make the best of themselves and are pure entertainment in the process. It is also true that their stories resonate with many people. With three of them battling against eating disorders, and all five having their private relationships plastered across the media, their reputations have been tarnished by the whole celebrity culture, so it’s great to see Girl Power fighting back. The reason the girls failed to succeed as solo artists, with the

exception of Melanie C is because the girls come as a package and show the solidarity that many people have with their friends. They are excellent role models for young girls as they all came from middle class backgrounds and are very self-assured, never letting anyone make them do anything they don’t want to yet they always remain bubbly! The girly banter on stage between songs demonstrates just how down to earth they remain. Okay, so they may be making £10m each from the tour, but I doubt that the smiles on the girls’ faces are purely due to money. Their songs will always stand the test of time and there will always be generations of people who adore the band - can you say the same for Girls Aloud? Emma, 17, of Garston, says: “I’ve been a fan since I was six, and even as I have grown up and my music tastes have changed, I have always retained my devotion to the Spice Girls as they are completely unique!” Love them or loathe them, they are back doing what they do best, so just let them spice up your life! Q

Live on the set of their world comeback tour, the Fab Five give fans what they’ve waited for

Youth Live

Issue 3 - Spring 2OO8



Is There An In Here? An artist’s impression of the ariel view of the new arena

TAKE A LOOK into Liverpool’s musical history and you’ll stumble across many acts that have contributed to the city’s culture. There are few places around the city centre that don’t convey some reminder of The Beatles, but other successful Liverpudlian bands include The Icicle Works, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, The Lightning Seeds and, more recently,The Zutons and The Coral.

attract thousands of people over the coming years. ‘I think it will have a massive effect on Liverpool’s music culture,’ says Paul, ‘especially for local bands. It will put a focus on Liverpool for all the right reasons.’

With such an influential musical heritage like this, why has it taken this city so long to produce plans for an arena big enough to stage such bands?

The usual venues that young people flock to include Barfly, the Carling Academy and Liverpool Uni. Although these places are great for staging new talent and underground bands, it hasn’t previously been possible for the city to draw in more mainstream acts. So how will the arena benefit young people?

‘The main reasons I’d think of would be the lack of funding, and not having a decent site to build on’ says Echo Arena Sales Manager, Paul Ashton.

“It will be bringing lots of new artists to the city. Young people will get to see more

But now that the Echo Arena is finally finished, there is little doubt that the year ahead will be a pretty successful one. With a packed calendar for 2008, including the Capital of Culture opening event and The Number One Project Live (celebrating the chart success of many Liverpool bands) as well a range of bands and sporting events lined up, this 10,600-seater venue is set to

JEMMA WARK asks why the city’s musical heritage has taken so long to find a home worthy of its great performers

entertainment, right on their doorstep, when they would have had to go to Manchester or Birmingham before.” The biggest announcement so far of most interest to young people, is that the MTV Europe Music Awards will be held at the arena on 6 November. This is a major triumph, as some may not realise how much work has gone on behind the scenes to secure this prestigious event. A city-wide bid began in 2004, and Paul Ashton believes that the city’s musical heritage and its 2008 Capital of Culture status have contributed to this achievement. Paul expects the MTV Awards to put the arena on the map: ‘If promoters haven’t heard of the Echo Arena before [the MTV awards], they will have afterwards.’ In fact, only a clash of dates prevented the arena from hosting the annual British Rock Festival, ‘Give It a Name’. It remains to be seen just how successful the arena will be in years to come. Paul Ashton said: “The years 2009-10 will be the real challenge for booking acts and events as we need to be able to look beyond all the excitement of Capital of Culture year.” There is no doubt that the people are eagerly waiting to see which big artists will add the Echo Arena to their list of tour dates - something that is long overdue! Q

The new entertainment venue and conference centre at night


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Youth Live

E...CAPITAL OF CULTURE...CAPITAL OF CULTURE...CAPITAL OF CULTURE...CAPITAL OF CULTUR 2008 IS FINALLY HERE, and the city now has a chance to showcase its greatness on a global stage. The Capital of Culture year is sure to produce great entertainment and is sure to make Liverpool a better place to live, right? SAM HORNER has his doubts.



OUR CITY GREAT? Thousands flocked to Lime Street for the People’s Opening

Capital of Culture status has brought its benefits, such as the new Liverpool Echo Arena, which is sure to host big events and bring major performing acts to the city. There is also the ‘Liverpool One’ development around Paradise Street, which is sure to please shoppers from in and around the city, and provide jobs for local people. However, it seems to me that the Capital of Culture celebrations seem more geared towards bringing new people into the city rather than providing good entertainment for the people who are residents of the city already. Not all events involve unheard of people, but many are not familiar to someone my age, at least. The Wombats sing Moving to New York at the ‘08 launch event do they know something we don’t?

Most young people would rather see McFly or The Sugababes at Summer Pops than a painting by Klimt

Most of the good scheduled events already take place in the city annually. I bet the average Liverpool resident would rather go to the Summer Pops, that has taken place in Liverpool for the last seven years, than attend Gustav Klimt: Painting, Design and Modern Life in Vienna 1900 at Tate Liverpool, which seems more about drawing in rich tourists than the ‘common man’ from an area like Wavertree. It also bothers me that trying to bring more and more people to this city from afar means that those who have lived here for many years - if not their whole lives - are being forgotten

about. It is evident that, while much is spent on cultural events and city centre regeneration, there are still ‘grot spots’ in local neighbourhoods for all to see. The Capital of Culture celebrations appear to be about making Liverpool’s reputation better without actually improving the whole city for everyone who lives here. I worry that the people of Liverpool who made the Capital of Culture bid a success (we won because the judges had a strong sense of communities’ contributions to the bid) will be sidelined while tourists and investors flock from outside in increasing numbers. Q

EDITOR’S NOTE: We will be following the progress of the Capital of Culture year so will be inviting someone from Liverpool Culture Company to give us an interview in the next edition of Youth Live. Youth Live

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MAKING THE RIGH CONCERNED: Simon, aged I7 As someone who didn’t like school and who was excluded when I was meant to be taking GCSE’s, I needed some good advice as to what I could do with my life. So I went to Connexions. Launched in April 2001, Connexions’ primary target is to reduce the number of 16 - 18 year-olds who, like me, are ‘not in education, employment or training’ or ‘NEET’ for short. For a time, I was a NEET young person, waiting for a call from a Connexions advisor about my entitlement to £30 if I signed up to a course that really did not reflect where I wanted to be.

whereas youth work is more ‘T-shirts’ – the youth work style suits me better. I also fail to see why these agencies occupy fantastic buildings such as the Tea Factory, which could be better used as a youth facility. My school was falling apart. Every year I’d see damp patches and ever increasing cracks in the walls. There are also youth clubs desperately in need of cash. How come the money that schools and youth clubs so desperately need is paying for adults to work in such apparently lavish surroundings? This environment is far removed from the NEET young people they are given Government money to support. Are Connexions ‘suits’ suited to the youth service? I have my doubts.

The integration of Connexions with the Youth Service concerns me, as my experience of youth clubs has always been better. When I was 14, I started going to the youth club close to my mate’s house. I went Following a Government report on because this girl I fancied went, and it support for children and young meant I could try it on with her. My attempts to get a snog didn’t work out people, the Connexions careers (she thought I was a prat) but my interest in things other than girls did service is undergoing major develop. I got my Duke of Edinburgh changes, with the aim of providing Bronze and Silver because one youth worker didn’t give up on me, even when improved and integrated services I was being a complete prat. My point is that youth work and careers work are for young people. This includes different. They may both involve work working more closely with Liverpool with young people, but there is no good reason I can see to throw them together in Youth Service. Is this a change for a new, diluted service. Several different personal advisors have dealt with me during my contact with Connexions. People being off ill or on holiday is one thing, but I would be much more comfortable building a relationship of familiarity with one dedicated person rather than simply be allocated to whoever happens to be free. I feel I know McDonalds staff better than Connexions staff!

the better? Simon, I7, and Vicky, I8, give two different perspectives from their own experience.

I am aware that youth workers will have studied for a specific youth work qualification, where they will have gained lots of experience with young people and situations they face in their lives and communities every day, including setting up community projects for young people like me. I am unclear about what the career path for a ‘personal advisor’ is, maybe that’s because I know youth workers better. Connexions seems to be about ‘suits’ 14

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Youth Live


HT CONNEXIONS? SATISFIED: Vicky, aged I8 When I left school I had no idea what I wanted to do. It seemed that all my friends had a plan and wanted to talk about their careers, and that my school didn’t seem to care about me, because I wasn’t going on to do A levels!

better in my exams. To be honest I felt ashamed of myself and I didn’t want to talk to anyone about it. I met with my Connexions Personal Adviser and she was lovely - she listened to me as I went on and on about my school and life.

I had heard about Connexions from a teacher at school and my mum was on my back to sort out my life. I knew that a Connexions Adviser would be a good source of information and might help me make up my mind because an older friend of mine had seen one about her EMA money.

It took a couple of meetings before I finally realised that I wanted to go back to college to re-sit my GCSEs. I wanted to show the world that I was bright and I could do more than my job in the local supermarket. My Personal Adviser used a computer database to give me a list of options and ideas, the advisor was young and I enjoyed talking to her about what I can do and we had a laugh about possible career choices. Now, one year later, I have got the GCSEs I need to start an apprenticeship with a local hair and beauty salon.

Unfortunately, I lost interest in school after my mum and dad broke up, and I know I could have done

I had never heard of people getting apprenticeships before, but Connexions told me about them and sorted out my interview with one phone call. They also gave me the confidence to go for it and helped me with what to wear and what to say at the interview. I hope that everyone gets a chance, like me, to do what they like even if they have no idea what that is. Without Connexions I would still be unqualified and still unhappily filling shelves in a supermarket. If you feel like you need some good advice I recommend you talk to Connexions!

A Connexions PA supporting young people with careers guidance - but will it work within the Youth Servvice?

Youth Live

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We plan to follow the progress of Connexions’ integration with Liverpool Youth Service, and would be pleased to hear from anyone who wishes to share stories with us. Just email: 15


Aim Higher than the stars

ZAC TAYLOR and MARTIN SOUTHWOOD from The Mosslands School, Wallasey report on working in the media AIMHIGHER is an organisation that helps ordinary pupils achieve extraordinary things. Their main objective is to help students achieve the grades they want, and also to provide more able students with a higher standard of education. Aimhigher organise many different opportunities for learning, mainly by organising trips. Eleven young people were selected to represent The Mosslands School at a media work experience day at Wallasey School in December. Students were asked to pick three presentations they would like to attend. The day included a talk from a radio presenter from Juice FM, an interview with a journalist from The Southport Visiter, and a small practical presentation from a woman who worked with Blue Screen TV. The main aim of the day was to raise awareness of the many different possible job paths within the world of media. Five other schools also participated in the event. The first event we participated in was Web Based Media. This taught us about how the World Wide Web was only created in 1989, and has since completely revolutionised almost every aspect of our lives. It was a very educational experience to say the least! The journalism presenter was a reporter from The Southport Visiter, who explained how she came to her current position, and the possible routes to get into the job. Our final workshop was with three staff from Juice FM, who explained their roles at the local music radio station, and the long and tiring process of getting into advertising! We enjoyed their talk the most, but the whole day was very interesting. It also gave us an insight into how productive and rewarding, but also how competitive and sometimes ruthless the media industry can be! Q


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Youth Live


Laying foundations of a new career for women TARIRO MUNODAWAFA reports on how Blackburne House trains women to learn jobs only men used to do HAVE YOU EVER thought about women building houses? Blackburne House, a college especially for women, offers them the chance to learn construction skills. By learning about bricklaying, plastering and joinery, women can be on the way to a very wellpaid job. A good bricklayer can get £300 for laying 1000 bricks. The construction course has some written work which gives women the chance to show they have understood. Blackburne House provides lots of different courses which lead to national qualifications and helps women into good careers. Maz, 19, currently on the construction course, said: “You don’t need men to do everything - building should be for men and women!”

Youth Live

She added that when people ask her what she works on in college, some laugh because she does construction work: “It does not bother me because I like it! Plastering is the easiest.” Maz said that Ruvimbo and Tariro learn how cement is made she hoped to gain more skills in Lauren, 18, added that it’s all construction: “Doing the course women in the course, but they has helped me become more are taught by both a male and confident with all my female tutor. “It’s encouraging construction work. Some men for us that the woman teaching can be narrow minded but it’s us has her own construction just fair that men and women company. Construction by women can work together plus we can earn really good money!” is the way forward!” Q Lori, 17, said: “The course is good and I think some women can build better than some men!”

For more information on Blackburne House courses visit

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Avoid cancer scare with good self-care SYLVIA FORJOE and JEMMA WARK on one of Britain’s most serious diseases CANCER IS a disease where the natural cycle of cell development is disrupted. There are about 200 different types of cancer affecting each of the different body tissues. There’s no one cause of cancer and there’s no complete cure, but cigarette smoking, for example, won’t give you lung cancer and too much sunlight won’t give you skin cancer but they are strong contributing factors. BREAST CANCER: Breast cancer is of great concern to women, and there are a mixture of risk factors to consider, but it is unheard of for girls under the age of 18 to have the disease - 80% of breast cancer cases are diagnosed in women over the age of 50. However, if you have a family history of breast cancer, or any worries at all, it’s worth seeing a GP to talk about your concerns and how to practise good breast awareness as you get older. The Linda McCartney Centre at the Royal Liverpool Hospital offers free clinics, dealing with breast cancer. One of these is specifically for young women. SKIN CANCER: Regular use of sun beds may cause skin cancer – due to the UV rays which both sunlight and sunbeds give out, affecting the DNA in your skin cells. These rays damage and age your skin, making it coarse, leathery and wrinkled. It can also give you conjunctivitis and eye

cancer. Also, using sunbeds before the age of 35 increases your risk of developing skin cancer by up to 75 per cent! Surgical treatment for skin cancer can result in serious scarring.

Boosting your tan by having two sunbed sessions within 24 hours or after sunbathing is particularly harmful. In fact, the intensity of UV rays from sunbeds can be up to 10-15 times higher than that of the midday sun! Our bodies make Vitamin D - which is essential for good health - when our skin is exposed to UV rays but it is also present in certain foods. Just a few minutes of sun on our skin produces adequate amounts - so you don’t need a sunbed to get your vitamins! IF IN DOUBT, CHECK IT OUT: With so much media speculation about cancer and its causes, it wouldn’t be surprising that girls can get easily paranoid over the slightest problem, but it is important to remember that cancer in young people is quite rare.

Women of all ages may be affected by breast cancer, but it is exceptionally rare if you are under 18 8


By the time we are 18, most of us have experienced half our total lifetime exposure to sunlight, bu ut not enough is done to educate children about the health risks

However, as soon as you notice something even slightly abnormal, the best thing to do is consult your GP. Many people can be embarrassed or frightened about going to see a doctor. Doctors will treat these problems with sensitivity and consideration

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use a sunbed if you: are under 18 have fair or freckly skin burn easily have a lot of moles have had skin cancer in the past have a family history of skin cancer are using medication that increases your sensitivity to UV light.

and, let’s face it, it’s the best way to put your own mind at ease! Cancer affects not only the patient involved, but can also be traumatic for family and friends. The Linda McCartney Centre also offers a Macmillan Information Service. This is a drop-in clinic open five days a week, which offers support and information to anyone affected by cancer. Q

For more information, visit: Or call Macmillan Youthline on: 0808 808 0800 Youth Live


Dear Healthmates, HEALTHMATES are a group of young people who work with Liverpool Youth Service and Merseyside Youth Association (MYA) to help other young people look after their health and understand key health issues that may affect them. This is the first of a regular new section for Youth Live, responding to questions posed by young people.

Peeing Pains For some time now I have been experiencing pain when peeing. Could this be a sign of anything serious such as cancer? This doesn’t sound too serious although you do need to get it checked out. You didn’t say whether you are sexually active, but if you are and have not used condoms you could have contracted an STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection), for example chlamydia or gonorrhoea. These are most common in young people and, in respect of chlamydia, 50% of cases show no physical symptoms and, if left untreated, can cause infertility. The tests for these STIs are quick, simple and pain free, and can be obtained free at Brook, Abacus and many NHS Walk-In Centres.

Concerned Virgin

We think your concern relates to testicular cancer and, although they do not really know what causes it, lack of sex has not been identified as one of the “risks”. The second thing we want to say “well done” about, is knowing that you can and should be “checking” yourself on a regular basis. Testicular cancer mainly affects young men between the ages of 15 and 35, and self-examination on a monthly basis is a really good idea, so you become familiar with the normal size and shape of your testicles, making it easier to tell if something feels different or abnormal in the future – unusual lumps of bumps can be the first sign of testicular cancer. You can pick up leaflets from your local health centre, school nurse or even local youth centre, which explain how to perform a self examination, or visit:

Under Age Sex Risk? My best mate keeps telling me that I will get cervical cancer because I started having sex with my boyfriend when I was 15. Is this true and if so what can I do about it? It is believed that there is a link between early sexual intercourse and cervical cancer. However, you should not panic.

I’m 16 and I’ve not had sex with a girl. This didn’t bother me until I overheard two lads talking on the late bus (they didn’t think anyone else was around!) that they were worried about the lack of sex causing cancer in their balls?! Should I at least be masturbating on a regular basis to prevent this happening to me? Isn’t there a way of “checking” yourself for such things?

Cervical cancer is very rarely found in anyone under 25 and, of the 2,300 women who were diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2003, 95% of cases were in women over 35.

First of all - congratulations for not having had sex before you were ready to!

Getting back to your mate’s comment 99% of cervical cancers are caused by

Youth Live

Cervical screening in the form of a smear test is offered to women from age 25 every three years until they are 49, and every five years from 50 to 64 this is proving very effective in detecting and treating cervical cancer at a very early stage.

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the human papilloma virus (HPV) which is a common virus and can be passed on through sex. Starting to have sex at an early age (before 17) may expose the cervix to HPV at an especially susceptible time. Plus the more sexual partners you have, the greater the risk of HPV. It is therefore important that you protect yourself from this virus (as well as other sexually transmitted infections) by using a barrier method of contraception eg condoms.

Scared I am now 16 but started my periods when I was 11. Recently when getting dressed I noticed a small lump in my breast. I have heard that, because I started my periods early, I am much more likely to get breast cancer. I’m really scared, what should I do? Firstly, can we reassure you that it is extremely unlikely that you have breast cancer. It is far more likely that what you have found is a small cyst or fatty tissue, particularly as your body is still developing and growing. Young women from the age of 16 are advised to do a regular self-examination of their breasts. For guidance on this visit: This should hopefully put your mind at rest but, if after re-checking following the website guidelines, you are still concerned, a visit to your GP will probably allay any fears. Q

As well as preventing pregnancy, condoms also protect against STIs and HPV, the virus which causes cervical cancer



Cueing Up For Snooker Success YOUNG SNOOKER players are cueing up at the Liverpool Academy of Snooker Excellence. Neil Johnson and his wife Paula launched the youth facility by putting in their own money from a bank loan. Neil began playing from age 14, and became professional at 22, but retired after two years. Neil explained: “I thought it would be a good idea for young players to have somewhere to play and be comfortable while playing. They can also meet new people, learn the code of conduct and how to play in a professional environment which is smoke and alcohol free.”

Neil Johnson has also designed a snooker cue to enable young players to perform better. The cue’s design came from experimenting with random materials in Neil’s back garden and the varieties of wood used in the final design include ash, walnut, maple and ebony (a very heavy wood, which is on the bottom of the cue and acts as a stabilising hull.) The brass insert located in the belly of the cue acts like a keel in a boat. Stabilising the cue this way has a knock-on effect on the player, helping to steady their action and straighten it out, leading to greater accuracy. Neil said: “I wanted to stick to conventional materials and I wanted the cue to be a big statement and different to other cues available.” The Gravity Cue has now become the biggest cue design change since the leather tip was invented and has now also become patented which gives it legality in professional play.

The Academy turns out 24 tournaments a year and only charges small fees for the facility, which includes reduced height tables for younger players. Among the academy’s many young talents is Danny McCann, 15. He started playing properly aged eight, after getting his first snooker table at age three. He said: “My interest developed after seeing John Parrot on TV. Now I train for four hours every day and my ambition is to win as many titles as possible, and succeed to the main tour.” Local players who aspire to snooker success can visit:

AMY WESTLAKE visits the Academy where future stars of the green baize are made

The Gravity Cue is endorsed by international pool player Andy McDonald. Andy believes it is a big improvement on what is available at the moment. The technical aspects of the cue’s construction keep it in the right position and stop the wrist from twisting when playing. Andy says: “The cue is able to improve the confidence of beginner players but can also help professional players cope with the pressure.” Andy is coaching Welsh junior players and is looking at setting up training sessions in the Liverpool area. For information visit:

MAIN PICTURE: The Academy before it was refurbished TOP: Paula Johnson with prize-winning players CENTRE: Neil Johnson with would-be pro Danny McCann


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Youth Live


JOE JENNINGS shares his passion for Everton Football Club and gives a bleak forecast of the effect of the move to Kirkby



‘’GOODISON HAS fallen to the ages, we must move on, we’ll regret it if we throw it away’’. All sensible sentiments you would assume, however the plan to move Everton FC out of their native city of Liverpool to ‘’nearby’’ Kirkby is simply an idea that I wanted to see avoided at all costs. It is a sad indictment of our custodians that, while our neighbours Liverpool FC appear to be essentially masters of their own destiny, our glorious club seems to have become no more than a pawn in a bid for an out of town retail park development. I love my club as much as the next man but this move going ahead will mean I may as well say goodbye to my greatest passion. This will sadden me greatly, as us Blues have suffered long enough for years and to see the ‘’Red lot’’ smirking over us relocating to Kirkby will simply be too much for me to take. I wonder what could become of the Goodison area with Everton relocated? Perhaps it could become a ghost town with faithful fans living nearby moving out? Everton’s presence has long been a lynchpin for community cohesion, with its historical link with St Luke’s Church, but could this decline and crime resurface? Local businesses dying out after losing masses of match day trade and the elderly losing their local stores?

When Youth Live approached Everton FC, they declined to comment. The following information was compiled from their website,

Football is what makes the locals proud, and gives them a great sense of identity. Everton’s relocation will be like the community missing a leg, such is people’s passion. A new stadium might be built in two or three years, but the present club’s tradition took 128 years to form. A stadium is not just bricks and mortar; it is the embodiment of a corporate identity which takes time to form and develop. Although at the moment, the initial disgust appears to have subsided, underneath the surface, I feel problems await to erupt. We are Everton Football Club from the city of LIVERPOOL, not Lisbon not Cardiff and certainly not Kirkby! Q

Staunch Evertonian Tesco chief Sir Terry Leahy has encouraged fans to see the project as being an investment for the whole region, not just the 450,000 people living within the city boundary.


On August 24 2007 Everton announced the result of a ballot among the fans 59.27% voted in favour of the move to Kirkby. Voting turnout was 70.27%. The Kirkby site offers about 80 acres of space (compared to seven acres at Goodison) for development in a £400m project which will be a partnership between Tesco, Everton FC and Knowsley Borough Council. Youth Live

Everton has said that remaining at Goodison was always the preferred option but not viable, practically or financially. The commercial benefits to all partners and the community offered by the Kirkby project would not be available if Everton embarked on a standalone project which it could ill afford without negative impact on the club’s future development.

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For our first Feedback page we asked Year 10 students from Knowsley for their responses to last issue’s articles about gang culture and the exam system. getting caught. Young people join the gangs who don’t know it is dangerous. They just think that they are part of the gang. Name withheld All Saints High School


Gang culture in the UK is not in all cases due to a lack of education or boredom. I believe youths resort to gang crime, and violence, as there is simply nothing else to do. ‘Yobs’ hanging round on the streets are still intimidating, though, and some people would feel a bit scared walking by them. James Merrigan Brookfield High School

I agree with most aspects of the gang culture article. I have experienced run-ins with gangs, and now tend to avoid certain areas near where I live. I agree that police and schools need to crack down on young people and their behaviour issues. Although I don’t agree that there are just main gang members who are in control, I believe all gang members play a part in yob culture. Terrance McGuire Brookfield High School

I agree with the article on gang culture. The point I agree the most with is that the leaders of the gang are not visible - they get other people to do all the work, which puts them in danger of

I agree that it is too easy to get good results on modular examinations. It is too easy to cheat, because they are nothing like SATS or GCSE examinations. You can sit wherever you want in the

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class and, because there is only one teacher, you can swap answers and ask whoever is sitting nearby for the right answer. Because some of the modules are so small, it is easier to memorise the module and therefore get a good result. In my opinion modular examinations should be held under SAT and GCSE examination style conditions. As they count for a percentage of your GCSE, I think that the exam should be on more than one module therefore making it harder to get a good result! Name withheld Ruffwood School

Youth Live


Put the YOU in Youth Live! IN THIS COLUMN we will bring you an update each issue on how Youth Live, and its publishing company YCN is growing. Last issue we announced we planned to launch a letters page - we have now achieved this, as you can see opposite. We hope in the next issues to bring you some responses to articles in this issue. We want to see Youth Live grow from a quarterly to a monthly publication, and we are already distributing across the whole of Merseyside. We are always on the lookout for new places to distribute, so if you know of anywhere Youth Live should be available please let us know by email or phone (see the box below for our contact details). YCN also offers customised projects to produce inhouse publications led by young people (for example an “alternative” prospectus) for any youth or community organisation - not just schools. Our Junior Members Board now stands at 19 members aged 12 to 18. Some of our older members will be leaving for University this summer so we are looking for new members to replace them.

In addition to producing our editorial content, members are encouraged to help promote and develop Youth Live within their schools, youth clubs and other places where they have links. We are currently collaborating with Liverpool Chamber of Commerce to develop a ‘Young Chamber’ enterprise project at New Heys Community Comprehensive School. Young people at New Heys are investigating new ways of developing Youth Live in order to generate new sources of income - and they get to earn commission in the process! We welcome enquiries about subscriptions to Youth Live, particularly for use as a curriculum resource within school, and subscriptions by individuals, which we aim to make part of an adult membership scheme - more details will be announced shortly. From quiet beginnings, the YCN office is now busy every day. We host a variety of work experience placements, including: X X X

Mentorprise - for graduates Business Bridge - for undergraduates Compact for Years 10 and 11.

Social Capital funding from Expanding Horizons has helped us to extend the duration of some placements. There is also a waiting list of people wanting to volunteer with us. We want to acknowledge the support of our volunteers: Carl, Cara, Tsi Tsi, Terry, Peter, Julie, James and Jenny. We also welcome our recent additions to the team: Philip and Nichola. Don’t forget, you can submit items for inclusion in Youth Live at any time to: or to find out more about JMB membership:

MAKING IT HAPPEN: YCN Management Committee, Junior Board members and volunteers

Stop Press: The Management Committee and Junior Members Board are delighted to announce the appointment in February of Youth Live Deputy Editor Joanne McCann to the YCN Management Committee.

Youth Live is published by Youth Communications Network (YCN), which is a Community Interest Company (CIC). This means the company exists to serve the community and its profits are reinvested to develop its work rather than awarded to private shareholders. The views and opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of YCN’s Board of Directors, the editor or the Junior Members Board. Inclusion of advertisements does not imply endorsement by YCN. We welcome constructive feedback, which may be included in a future edition. Please email:

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For advertising or subscription enquiries please contact Richard on: 0151 702 6960 or email:

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Hear when you need us for counselling, support, advice, information and guidance. Counselling Service Drop-in Service



Personal Development Project Community Outreach Project Substance Misuse Project

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Key Working and Mentoring Projects 14-19yrs Men’s Group 16-25yrs Women’s Group 16-25yrs Gay Youth Group (GYRO) 16-25yrs Self Injury Groups 13-25yrs Anger Awareness Groups 13-25yrs Relaxation Groups 16-25yrs Support for Survivors of Sexual Abuse (SOS) 13-25yrs

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Youth Live Issue 3  

Magazine written by young people for young people.