A NEW initiative in Bangor will see youngsters taking part in a whole host of creative activities.

An innovative project is providing teenagers with something to do on the weekends and during school holidays at Pontio, the town's arts and innovation centre.

The projects is thanks to the award of three years’ funding by the National Lottery as part of its Community Fund.

Organisers say it will work in a very 'dynamic and responsive way.' The scheme entitled ‘Yn y Foment’ (In the Moment) gives opportunities for teenagers coming in to the Pontio building to take part in all types of creative of activities.

There is everything from music and writing, dance, circus skills and opportunities to work with performers and professionals visiting Pontio.

The idea behind the project is to open doors to new and enjoyable experiences, removing the usual rules and structure of more formal classes or organised workshops. They are designed to allow young people the freedom to do things in their own way, by coming across new experiences.

The project has received funding following a successful pilot over the last 18 months, which has seen over 230 take part in various creative activities.

Osian Gwynn, Director of Pontio Arts said:

“We’re still a fairly new centre, having only been open for four years. But over that time, we’ve been getting to know how the building is used by our community.

“One thing we’ve noticed is that young people from the local area use Pontio as somewhere to hang out after school, in school holidays and on the weekend.

"They may not always be here to see a film, a show or attend our youth programme BLAS, but because they like the environment and possibly feel that they have nowhere else to go.

“It’s natural that in some cases boredom can lead to challenging behaviour, so we thought we’d see what we could do about that – we’re a creative centre, after all, so we should be able to come up with creative solutions! So we started inviting those hanging out at Pontio to have a go at different things – not in a formal, ‘classroom’ type environment, or through advertised activites, but through providing spaces where they could be themselves, get to know the centre and its staff a bit better, and do things in their own way and at their own pace.

“Receiving this piece of funding from the Lottery’s Community Fund means we can now offer these opportunities more regularly.”

Pontio will now be appointing a co-ordinator for the project, and working with a number of community partners to point teenagers in the direction of other services they may be interested in.

It includes information on where they can sign up to more formal classes or courses should they become interested in a particular art form.

It will also signpost them to additional support with specific issues if required. Bangor University’s Psychology department will also be taking part, working with the young people.

Osian Gwynn added: “We’re delighted to be taking this next step with Yn y Foment, and hand in hand with our community partners and local young people, look forward to seeing what’s possible.”