The Takeover Festival – an arts programme run by young people for young people at The Customs House – has been shortlisted for a national award.

The Customs House Trust is one of 15 organisations funded by ScottishPower Foundation this year to be nominated for a ScottishPower Foundation Award.

The award ceremony takes place at ScottishPower’s HQ in Glasgow on Tuesday, September 25, and the winners and runners-up in four categories – Education, Innovative Project, Community Impact and Charity Champion – will share a prize fund of £30,000.

The winning organisation in each category will receive an additional £5,000 funding boost, with four runners-up receiving £2,500 each.

The Customs House Trust, which has been shortlisted in the Innovative Project category, received £31,000 from ScottishPower Foundation to stage this year’s fourth annual Takeover Festival, during the May half-term holiday.

The funding was used to recruit, train and support a group of young people from South Tyneside and the wider north east region to form The Takeover Team, who planned, promoted and delivered the week-long event.

Their innovative programme choices in 2018 included a workshop on image and persona from high-profile drag artist Cheddar Gorgeous, a Cosplay Ball and a performance by female rap artist Kay Greyson, in addition to the visual art, film, poetry, dance and drama activities that are a regular feature of the festival.

Izzy Finch, Learning and Participation Officer at The Customs House, said: “We are thrilled to be shortlisted for the Innovative Project award and are really looking forward to attending the ceremony and hearing about all the other fantastic projects that the ScottishPower Foundation has funded this year.

“We are incredibly proud of what Takeover 2018 achieved, and I’m delighted that Lauryn, one of our Takeover Team members, is able to accompany me to the event to share and celebrate our experiences of the festival this year.

“Generous funding from ScottishPower Foundation meant that in 2018 we have been able put our trust in young people’s ability to reimagine our arts programme based on what they tell us young people want and need from a week of programing and events.”

The Takeover Festival is part of the national Takeover initiative aimed at giving young people with a low socioeconomic status the opportunity to gain employability skills, leadership opportunities and exposure to diverse arts in a safe, inclusive environment.

Leslie, a young person from The Takeover Team, said: “Getting to know people and having responsibility for managing an event has been one of the greatest things I’ve done, especially developing my art skills in a stronger way.

“It’s given me confidence and I hope it gives me a future gaining the skills that I’ve learned as part of The Takeover Team. It really gives me a sense of positivity and makes me feel independent. I have things to look forward to.”

The ScottishPower Foundation was established in 2013 and provides funding to registered charities involved in the advancement of education, environmental protection, citizenship and community development.

It also supports non-profit organisations working in science, the arts, heritage or culture, as well as the prevention of poverty and relief of disability or other disadvantage.

Ann McKechin, trustee and executive officer of ScottishPower Foundation, said: “Each charity supported by the ScottishPower Foundation this year is delivering outstanding work in their local community and it’s a great privilege of us to support the work they do.

“The awards ceremony is a chance for us to shine a light on the innovative and inspiring work being delivered by the projects and we’re delighted to offer this opportunity for additional funding to support them further.”

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