Picture of Wearside – in the right focus

Evening Chronicle, 30 August 1979

JOBLESS teenagers hope to give ailing Wearside a television tonic. They believe there is plenty in Sunderland to smile about and to prove it they are to make a film of life in the town.

The film makers then plan to send their documentary to the BBC in answer to a film about the town called “Are the Kids All Right” which painted a dismal picture of dole queues and street fights.

Danny Dixon, a member of Southwick Neighbourhood Youth Projects (SNYP) explained yesterday that the youngsters were so annoyed by the BBC film that they decided to make their own.

“We are all so angry because it just did not paint a fair picture of Wearside,” said 19-year-old Danny, an unemployed factory worker, of Ellis Square, Southwick.

“The BBC film totally ignored all the good things that exist in the town – and just dwelt on closed factories and dole queues.”

Danny is no stranger to film making as two years ago he directed a short documentary called “Life on the Dole” for a Manchester company.

About 12 SNYP members, aged from 13 to 19, are involved in the project, and hope to feature Sunderland Football Club in the film.

“We also want to show some of the community projects that are going on, such as the Southwick village farm, and also show the great neighbourhood spirit that exists in Southwick and other areas of Sunderland,” added Danny.


The teenagers have been given a big start in the project by being able to borrow film and sound equipment from Sunderland Polytechnic.

“All the people involved in making the film have been born and bred in Sunderland, and I am sure they have a lot more idea what the town is like than film crews from London,” said Danny.

“Most people involved in the film are on the dole so none of us would deny there is unemployment in the town. But I do not believe that it is that much higher than in other towns.”

The film makers also hope to improve the image outsiders have of the town.

“I know of quite a few people who were put off coming to Sunderland after seeing the BBC film, and we hope that after they see our film they will realise it is not such a bad place after all,” said Danny.

Coun. Alan Waistell, chairman of the polytechnic governors, said he thought the film was “an excellent way to improve the image of Sunderland.”

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