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I, Daniel Blake rapper launches advice service

ByDave Stopher

Jan 10, 2017

The young rapper who landed a role in the BAFTA nominated film I, Daniel Blake – Kema Sikazwe – has helped launch a new advice service in Newcastle.

SKINT? Young Citizens’ Advice is run by local charity Streetwise, in partnership with Newcastle Citizens’ Advice.

Funded by a three-year Big Lottery grant, with an £8,000 cash injection from local housing provider, Isos Housing, it aims to take debt and money management advice out on to the streets of the city.

In particular, the service will target young people aged 16-25 in Newcastle’s West End, one of the most deprived areas of the UK, and where Kema, who played Daniel Blake’s next-door neighbour in the award-winning film, grew up.

At the SKINT? launch on Wednesday in Newcastle City Library, Kema, a self-taught musician and rapper, spoke about his experiences and performed one of his original songs.

Streetwise CEO, Mandy Coppin (Taylor), said: “SKINT? is a much-needed intervention service to help prevent our young people from becoming overcome with anxiety around debt and/or money management.

“We hope to help and inspire young people to explore new opportunities to secure a strong future for themselves and their families.”

Through SKINT? Young Citizens’ Advice, project workers will also be able to provide specialist help for victims of loan sharks.

Isos Housing has a strong presence in Newcastle’s West End and tenants who engage with the new service will be signposted to the association’s own Financial and Social Inclusion team, where appropriate.

Isos Community Involvement officer, Melanie Rees, said: “This is a service that will directly benefit our tenants, as well as local residents, so we’re delighted to be working with Streetwise because it is really passionate about what it does.

“As an organisation it doesn’t wait for people to come to it looking for help; it goes out into the community, works with other service providers and actively signposts people on to other sources of help and advice where necessary.”

Set up 25 years ago, Streetwise provides free information and support for young people, as well as counselling, community activities, detached youth work and sexual health services.

Based in the city centre, the charity also offers specialist advice on employment and employability, help with job applications and interview skills.

A Streetwise Youth Bus acts as a base while project workers are out and about in the city and provides a warm, safe place for young people to go – helping reduce incidents of anti-social behaviour.

The new SKINT? Young Citizens’ Advice drop-in sessions will operate at: Newcastle City Library (Monday, 3pm-6pm); Byker Community Centre (Wednesday, 2pm-6pm); FAR Community Centre, Fenham (Thursday, 3pm-6pm); Streetwise in Blackfriars Court, Dispensary Lane (Saturday, 1pm-4pm).

Picture captions:

Skint A – Pictured at the SKINT? Young Citizens’ Advice launch are (from left) Kema Sikazwe, Isos Community Involvement officer, Melanie Rees, Streetwise CEO, Mandy Coppin (Taylor), and Streetwise service manager  Fred Suadwa.

Skint B – Young rapper, Kema Sikazwe, (front) cuts the ribbon to officially launch the new SKINT? Young Citizens’ Advice service surrounded by staff from Newcastle charity Streetwise and service partners.