A group of young Northumbrians have taken part in an inspiring exchange project with Swedish youngsters.
The Sweden exchange programme is just one of a series of projects being organised by Young Northumberland, which is backed by the European Leader fund, in response to needs recognised by Northumberland Uplands Local Action Group and Northumberland National Park Authority.
It aims to develop opportunities for young people to live, work and become involved in the countryside and rural life.
John Tait, from Rothbury, wrote about his experiences as part of the exchange:
“Vaxjo has often been called ‘the greenest city in Europe’ and this city in southern Sweden was home for two weeks.
“Arriving at a train station in Sweden that was relatively close to Vaxjo and the hostel, we were picked up by our Swedish contact Helena. She drove us through the well-lit and sleepy city to our hostel.
“The next morning, Annika, the manager of the Leader Linne project, briefed us on our placements over a coffee.
“I knew very little about mine, other than that it was in a theatre, my chosen category. I knew it was called Respect Theatre and Annika informed me that it was set up to help people who had found themselves ‘outside of society’. Five minutes later we arrived at my placement, known locally as Teater Respekt.
“Soon I was taking notes about the week’s schedule. A production here, a meeting there; I was already to be acting as Teater Respekt’s representative at some kind of youth centre. I was to assist in making props, measuring goal-posts and in light and sound. I was excited!
“I learned a lot working for Teater Respekt, but the most valuable thing it gave me, I think, was confidence. The knowledge that I can take control in situations, get organised and communicate my ideas. I had written a play which I brought over with me and the feedback I got for my writing was very constructive, which was important to me.”
John enjoyed his trip and said that it had helped gain vital experience in the career he would like to pursue.