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Graphic Novel Project

Young people aged 11-17 worked with local artists to produce a new resource warning of the dangers of loan sharks within communities in Newcastle. The West End Young Digital Artists (WEYDA) group meet regularly at Success4All's learning hub. Having previously developed cartoon characters and a film about their West End Heroes, the group then worked alongside GemArts' professional artists, using the heroes to create a graphic novel addressing the dangers of loan sharks in the community. 

Over 6 months, WEYDA’s young people worked alongside professional artists Andy Morley, Nazia Tahir and Mark Forster, learning new skills in graphic design, drawing and storyboarding. Andy Morley, from Creative Ginger, enabled the young people to produce a storyboard and art work which in turn created the printed graphic novel. During the project the group debated problems surrounding debt and loan sharks, researching issues and solutions. Members of the group were encouraged to mentor each other, with young people sharing digital skills and other areas of interest.

Alexandra Marsden, project manager at GemArts, said: “Not only have these young people developed new creative skills, they have also produced a fantastic resource for their local community. During the project we watched the group really come together to debate the issues around debt and loan sharks. GemArts are delighted with the final graphic novel which Andy Morley helped the young people to produce. We are also thrilled that the Barnardo’s Just Ask Me fund allowed us to give these young people the chance to address this issue.”

Caroline Afolabi-Deleu, Founder & Director of Success4All, said “Success4All are very proud of these young people, they continue to meet regularly and work together to produce really interesting projects as the WEYDA group. It is fantastic to see their hard work come together in the first edition of the comic book, and we are excited to see the next edition.”

A launch event took place on Thursday 27th February at one of Success4all's learning hubs. This event was a great success, celebrating the young people’s creativity, showcasing their graphic novel, and providing them the opportunity to stand up in front of their peers and present their hard work.

Project managed by GemArts in partnership with Success4All
Funded by Barnardo’s Just Ask Me Fund

For more information on Success4All and their WEYDA group visit Success4All Blog