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'Misfits' director gives warning over funding cuts

CONCERNS: Nirpal Bhogal with Guvna B

A BRITISH film director has warned that the lack of funding for youth projects will have a damaging effect on young people.

Nirpal Bhogal, the man behind British film Sket and Channel 4 TV series Misfits was attending an event to celebrate the success of TalkSafe, a scheme in which youth volunteers support other young people. The project’s three-year funding from the Big Lottery Fund has now come to an end.

He told The Voice: “The repercussions will be felt in about four, five years. In the short term, it’ll look great on books to save a bit of money. In four or five years the amount of damage to people because of a lack of projects like this will really show.”

Bhogal said he was saddened by the current struggle to keep projects and charities dedicated to young people like TalkSafe open.


“I think it’s an absolutely wonderful project of course. It’s such a shame that like so many things today it has to vanish. It’s such a shame.”

Run by sexual health charity the Terrence Higgins Trust (THT), Talksafe has delivered counselling, information, advice, guidance and peer-mentoring services to 10 to 18 year-olds in London since 2009.

Bhogal, who directed and is one of the writers of Sket, offered the young Talksafe volunteers a private screening of the movie when it was first released last year.
He was also at the Talksafe drinks reception held to highlight the project’s successes at London’s City Hall on September 10.

He said: “After doing quite of lot of things (film and TV programmes) youth orientated it was good to get involved in something that appealed directly to them.”

Also among the guests who came out to mark the end of the project was award-winning gospel rap artist Guvna B.


Guvna B, an ambassador for THT and its Talksafe campaign since 2011, told The Voice: “I think it’s an amazing project, just because I don’t think there are many charities or projects that truly relate to young people. I think having somewhere they can go and some people they can talk to, that they feel comfortable doing so, is very important. I’m a proud supporter of Talksafe.”

Curtis Azizi Kosoko, one of the many Talksafe volunteers and winner of the JLS Sexual Health Young person of the Year 2011, said having young people offer support to other young people makes it easier for them to open up.


Said Kosoko: “The project has been important because we’ve helped so many young people.”

Service manager Banjo Aromolaran said he was confident that the opportunity to resurrect the project would present itself in the near future.

He said that recently submitted funding applications were “looking hopeful.”
Reflecting on the project’s success, where more than 900 young people benefitted from one-to-one counselling and peer mentoring services, he said: “It would make sense; I am hoping that the project continues because the young people found it quite useful.”

The charity said that the project’s website attracted 12,000 young people, and hoped that although the project was over, they would still continue to attract visitors to the website.

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