Funding fears for Park Royal film making charity

The MaMa Youth Project is on a fundraising drive as fears mount that it could close

The future of an award winning charity which trains disadvantaged youngsters in television hangs in the balance after a drop in donations.

The MaMa Youth Project, based in North Acton Road, Park Royal, and trains many Brent youngsters, is on a fundraising drive to raise �20,000 in a bid to keep its doors open.

Project founder Bob Clarke said: “Twenty five years ago when I was first starting out they told me they weren’t enough black people in the industry, and they are still saying that, so I thought I would try and make a difference.”

Mr Clarke was spurred to found the project six years ago after meeting a teenage boy who showed him Rwd, an underground urban magazine which profiles grime, dubstep and hip hop artists.

Struck by the raw talent in the magazine – and the mainstream media’s reluctance to cover it – he set about setting up MaMa Youth.

The project takes youngsters from disadvantaged backgrounds and trains them for two months in TV production, giving them the skills and confidence to find paid work in the industry.

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Mr Clarke said his own experiences growing up in Kensal Green and seeing many of his friends slide into trouble and crime, motivated him to set up a scheme which would help prevent others repeating these mistakes.

He said: “Everyone needs a bit of luck and if you get an opportunity you need to grab hold of it and make the most of it and that’s what I did, and that what a lot of the kids I worked with have done.”

MaMa Youth is recognised by the Council of Europe as one of the top ten media organisations supporting diversity, and around a third of its participants go on to find TV work.

But despite pouring �140,000 into the project, even re mortgaging his home to fund it, Mr Clarke says a drop in donations has plunged the future of the scheme into uncertainty.

He said: “The achievements have been amazing. To me it is about sustainability – I could have started a little video course, but for me there has to be something more than building confidence and learning skills – there has to be a job.

“If you can make them employable then that is life training it has an affect on you your children and grandchildren. It is not just about that one person we whelp today it is about the generations that follow,”

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