A group of young people, supported by Network Ryde (Ryde Town Council’s Youth Service), has appointed artist Gaz from IdolMind to make public art for Ryde town centre that will highlight environmental issues and raise awareness of the Island’s Biosphere status.

The young people, aged between 11 and 17, want to make Ryde a better place for young people and others to live, addressing issues such as littering and empty shop windows. They chose to work with Gaz following a dragons’ den session where three professional artists pitched their ideas.

The Ryde project, delivered through The Island Collection and managed by Independent Arts, is the fourth youth-led public art project to be launched on the Isle of Wight as part of the Supporting Young Minds programme. The Ryde project is funded by the #iWill Fund which is a UK wide programme aiming to make social action a regular part of life for less affluent young people aged 10-20 and is administered by Hampshire & Isle of Wight Community Foundation (HIWCF).

Gaz said: “I am hyped to be involved in this exciting project, having the opportunity to work with the young people of Ryde, using art to educate, inform and transform. Supporting Young Minds is such a great project to be a part of, it gives a brilliant platform and voice to young creative minds and I cannot wait to help them progress and create. The combination of Independent Arts, Network Ryde, young people and Idolmind is the ultimate team up!”

Jo Johnson, deputy youth work manager at Network Ryde adds: “We are very excited to be collaborating with Independent Arts as part of the Supporting Young Minds project in Ryde. This is a brilliant opportunity for our young people, and we can’t wait to see the results from working with Gaz, to make a positive, creative difference in the town.”

Jacqui Scott, HIWCF CEO said: “Young people on the Island have so much energy, enthusiasm and passion for the causes they support, and it’s great to see them given this opportunity to bring vibrancy to Ryde’s town centre. Not only will they leave a legacy for local people and places, but the project also enables them to develop valuable personal skills that can really appeal to local businesses and employers, thus improving life opportunities and prospects.”

It’s not too late for young people to sign up for the Ryde and Ventnor projects, and anyone interested should contact jo.johnson@networkryde.org for Ryde or sign up through
www.braveisland.uk for Ventnor.