Community Work

Local children living in one of the most deprived wards in the country are to benefit from a new weekly film club. The club is the work of local resident Jack Sweetenham, 18 who has been driven by his passion for film to secure funding from mobile technology giant, O2 as part of their ‘Think Big’ programme.

The £2,500 grant will be used by Jack to run the film education programme for young people based in Kursaal Ward, Southend and will enable participants to use their creative energies to learn how to produce films. Jack has been active in community work involving young people for some while and is driven by his interest in the arts and drive to give something back to his local area. Previously, he received the initial O2 grant of £300 which he used to develop a short film that was screened at Southend Library last year, and this latest grant follows up on this success.

Of the project, Jack commented: “Essentially, it gives young people in the area something constructive to do with their time.”

“It is amazing to be involved in a project that brings results – the people who join the programme actually get to see their work on screen at the end – and that is very satisfying.”

The community action project has inspired local Councillors, who work closely with Kursaal Ward residents. Commenting on the project Councillors Blaine Robin and Louise Burdett said, “This will be a great project for the local area and we look forward to seeing what else Jack has in store. We hope he will continue to source funding for these important activities and we are happy to support him wherever possible. ”

Recently nominated Conservative Kursaal Ward Candidate Neil Austin has also been impressed by the project. He said “Jack sets an example for other young people in the area, showing them that they can do something truly worthwhile and inspiring with their time. The options for community engagement in Kursaal are good and thanks to projects like this they can continue to get better”.

O2’s ‘Think Big’ project is a £5 million scheme to support young people aged between 13 and 25 years who want to make a difference in their communities and combat negative stereotypes of our younger generation. The programme is being developed in association with National Youth Agency and UK Youth.

Anyone wanting to participate in the programme should contact Jack Sweetenham on 07952 747441.

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