Charity's hard-hitting Christmas message
CHILDREN'S charity Barnardo's is to broadcast a "frank and revealing" online Christmas Day message minutes after the Queen's speech, featuring young people's views on subjects such as racism and sexual exploitation.
Intended as an eye-opening, hard-hitting message for viewers, dubbed The Teens' Speech, it involves 100 young people aged 13 to 19 from across the UK.
The film will be streamed over the internet on Christmas Day ten minutes after the Queen's traditional television address to the nation in a groundbreaking partnership with the social networking and video websites MySpace and YouTube
The Teens' Speech draws on the views of young people from cities including Glasgow, London, Manchester, Cardiff and Belfast. Shot and edited by top documentary maker Virginia Quinn – best known for documentaries such as Underworld: Philadelphia and The Girl Whose Muscles Turned to Bone – the project is a first for the charity, which aims to use it to raise awareness of young people's issues.
Ms Quinn said a clear message had emerged during the making of The Teens' Speech.
"One of the things that came through was that it didn't matter were they came from, they weren't going to be defined by where they grew up," she said.
"In particular, some of the girls who lived in what are very rough areas said that they could have easily joined the gangs that were around them but they refused to let themselves be drawn into them. The other thing that came across was how it came back to the importance of family.
"It doesn't matter what age or where they were from, what was stressed was that if they have the support of whatever family they have then they can move forward in life."
Ms Quinn said many of the interviewees had also said they wanted more boundaries set down by their parents to help them understand the limits of their own worlds.
"As a filmmaker, this is a really exciting opportunity to explore and challenge some of the biggest stereotypes about teenagers in the mainstream and solicit opinions from all walks of life," she said.
The project will not end with the streaming of the film.
A YouTube channel has been specially created to allow teenagers to upload their own short speeches and debate the issues raised by the film, using MySpace and Facebook as the project develops.
Barnardo's Scotland director, Martin Crewe, described the project as a groundbreaking idea that he hoped would engage young people through its digital distribution.
He said: "I expect some profound reflections from children and young people about the world they will inherit. We want to listen to what young people think themselves about issues which are important both to them and to adults.
"We are expecting the film to be frank, revealing and full of surprises."
The Scotsman is supporting Barnardo's Scotland in its annual Christmas fundraising campaign.
The charity's Believe in Children appeal supports the wide-ranging work of the charity, which has more than 60 specialised projects in communities across Scotland, supporting more than 10,000 children, young people and their families.
Barnardo's Scotland works with and is supported by many local authorities throughout the country but the charity still needs to raise an additional 4 million in voluntary funds every year to continue.
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