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​​​Teenagers tuned in for support and fun

Youth workers have been coming up with ingenious ways to keep teenagers occupied during the coronavirus outbreak.


James Lilly, Youth Activities Leader based at Tuned In! in Redcar, has been setting daily challenges online for the borough's 13 to 18-year-olds which has engaged young people right across area.


And he's been amazed by the response to his regular quiz which has had dozens of teenagers taking part from across Teesside.


Specialist online youth groups, including James' Tuned In! 2 Music group who would ordinarily meet at Redcar's Tuned In! building, are closed but are providing an important outlet for creativity for teenagers. However, two monitored, online sites on Facebook and Instagram are available for 13 to 18-year-olds to access and take up daily challenges.


“I just thought, 'we have all these young people stuck at home and can't access our youth provision- what can we do?' I started off by issuing daily challenges. The first one was 'learn a new instrument, song or dance' and that went down really well. Since then we hope to continue the challenges with young people learning new recipes, drawing anime cartoons or learning foreign language phrases.


“One of our young people, Lara Rowlands from Saltburn, 17, put on a video of herself playing Wonderwall by Oasis and has been a bit of hit which, considering she only picked up a guitar for the first time two months ago is amazing. We're encouraging more of them to put efforts on the site. It could be a song or a meal or anything.


“I was a bit shocked by how well the quiz has been going. We use GIFs and pictures to keep it interactive as possible and I keep thinking they're too hard – but it's great to see how knowledgeable our young people are and actively engaging in these digital activities. They get about 90% right – it would be great to see more members of the community taking part too."


The closed, youth groups for teenagers already involved in Tuned In! have been a big hit too. “I do the Tuned In! 2 Music group, which has about 30 members, and we thought, 'we must continue this and not lose contact.' It shows our young people's commitment that they keep going."


Young people aged 13 to 18 can find out more at or on Instagram on @tunedinredcar The sites are monitored.​