A voice of their own

Natasha Simmonds of Selkirk has a bash at weather forecasting
Natasha Simmonds of Selkirk has a bash at weather forecasting

Borders youth film project Voice Of My Own (VOMO) celebrates its 10th birthday with a Big Bash on Tuesday, December 2.

Past, present and future participants are invited to the event in MacArts Centre in Bridge Street, Galashiels, which will include a decade of highlights fashioned into an exhilarating montage featuring hundreds of young filmmakers.

There will also be opportunities to see more recent VOMO films in full, while the young people of Wired on Radio Borders capture the action for their Sunday show.

Compere will be Kelso’s Adam Stevenson, who was one of VOMO’s earliest participants when – at the age of 14 – he first stepped in front of a camera as part of the powerful drama, Who Cares. The film was devised by young people through a partnership between Borders Youth Theatre, Young Carers and VOMO in 2004. It features the lives of two carers and the emotional challenges they face while juggling school and friendships.

From his role in Who Cares, Adam took part in many other VOMO projects, including the International Youth Media Project in 2007, which saw him and 11 other young Borderers head to Sweden to meet other youngsters with an interest in film-making.

Adam, who admits to having experienced many challenges while growing up, said: “I don’t know where I would be today if I hadn’t been introduced to VOMO.

“I want to be a professional actor and I’m now studying at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. I wouldn’t be in this position without VOMO.”

Ambitious plans by VOMO now include a web-based TV station for the Borders, thanks to funding from Creative Scotland. And there are plans for a studio and office in Galashiels, where young people will produce a weekly news bulletin and programmes covering issues about which which they are passionate. There will also be an opportunity to show new drama and short films, as well as VOMO’s impressive archive.

They have also submitted a funding application for a TV studio to expand into a range of youth arts programming.

BAFTA award-winning film-maker and VOMO project manager Robert Sproul-Cran said: “It will be run by young people for young people. It will be their TV station, offering a larger range of training and development opportunities.

“We want to include as many young people as possible, starting with creation and fitting out this new station.”

The birthday bash is from 7pm to 9.30pm. Entry is free, but people are asked to book by emailing: artservice@scotborders.gov.uk , texting 07825 831544 or phoning 01750 726400 during office hours.