Tagged: Infinity Bridge

Benefit Street protest in Stockton creates The Loudest Whisper

The word on the street was “This is Stockton-on-Tees” as thousands of residents attempted the world’s biggest game of Chinese Whispers to bolster the town’s image before a controversial Channel 4 documentary is broadcast.

Over two days ‘The Loudest Whisper’ will spread the message at some of the borough’s beauty spots including Infinity Bridge, Preston Park Museum and Grounds, and Wynyard Hall.

The ‘Psst…’ (Positively Stockton-on-Tees) Campaign was launched after filming for the Benefits Street series started last year which, it is feared, will negatively portray residents living in Kingston Road in the deprived Tilery area.

The first series, based in Birmingham, was branded ‘poverty porn’, however the hit show’s producers insisted it was about ‘giving a voice’ to a little known section of society.

World champion Stockton sprinter Richard Kilty demonstrated his pride for his home town by starting the “This is Stockton-on-Tees” whisper with more than 200 pupils at North Shore Academy, near Kingston Street, before 800 people passed it on over Infinity Bridge.

The message was then spread around 300 teenagers on their lunch break at Stockton Sixth Form College before it was put on ice at the Billingham Forum skating rink.

 Today (Saturday) will see youngsters taking part in a swim relay at Splash from 8.15am followed by a ‘Keep Calm and Curry On’ event at Ropner Park where the whisper will continue to be circulated around the community while they tuck into Indian cuisine cooked by Parkfield and Oxbridge residents and local chef Matty Brown.

The makers of Benefit Street, Love Productions, said on its website about the documentary:

“It’s a place where residents face challenges such as bringing up children in poverty, low levels of education and training, drug and alcohol dependency, and crime. But it also has a strong sense of community, where people look out for each other and where small acts of kindness can go a long way.”

Mike McGrother, frontman of the Wildcats of Kilkenny who masterminded the ambitious Psst…event with Stockton Borough Council, said:

“The nature of a Chinese Whisper reminds us that a message can be manipulated, but we are choosing to remind people of how a positive message can bring a community together.

 “The words of the message aren’t overly important – it’s more about the message of positivity we are putting out there.”

Phil Mulhaire who produced the spectacle, added:

“This is a light-hearted response to the Benefit Street programme because people feel it will not a true reflection, that its people are not feckless, this is to show the other side.”

Source – Northern Echo, 14 Mar 2015

Benefits Street: ‘Loudest Whisper’ planned in campaign to fight against negative publicity

Shhh…A giant game of whispers is planned across the whole of Stockton!

The ‘Loudest Whisper‘ will be one of the main events planned for the Positively Stockton on Tees (Psst…) campaign to fight against negative publicity that Benefits Street may bring.

The second series of Benefits Street – filmed on Stockton’s Kingston Road on the Tilery estate – is due to hit our screens in just weeks.

Wildcats of Kilkenny frontman Mike McGrother is one of those leading the campaign.

He said:

“There’s an abundance of community pride in Stockton-on-Tees – it’s just not our style to go shouting it from the rooftops!

“But if we’re faced with a series that seeks to paint us in an unfair light on national television, we shouldn’t take that lying down.

“Through the Loudest Whisper event and all the other parts of the Positively Stockton campaign, we can dispel the myths that will inevitably be trotted out using the sense of humour, community spirit and understated manner people in our borough are renowned for.

“And it’s all for Comic Relief – our voices – though quiet, will be heard!”

It will take place over the two days of Friday, March 13 and Saturday, March 14 and will also raise money for Comic Relief.

A message will be passed from person to person, making use of human chains as well as all kinds of transport, from jet-skis and rowing boats to buses and bikes.

Details of the full routes that the whisper will take will be unveiled later this month but there will be opportunities for the public to get involved, as follows:

• Friday, March 13, 12.15pm at the Infinity Bridge, Stockton

• Friday, March 13, 5.30pm at the area near ARC and The Storytellers pub, Stockton

• Saturday, March 14, 12.20pm in Ropner Park, Stockton

• Saturday, March 14, 1.15pm at Preston Hall, Eaglescliffe

People across the region and beyond are being encouraged to show their love for the borough by sharing photographs, videos and stories.

To find out more about the Positively Stockton-on-Tees campaign and how to get involved visit: www.positivelystocktonontees.co.uk

Source –  Sunday Sun,  15 Feb 2015

Stockton cameraman hits back at Benefits Street being filmed in Stockton with positive video

A cameraman has hit back at controversial TV show Benefits Street being filmed in the North with his own homage to his beloved hometown.

Crews from Love Productions are filming the second series of the TV show, which follows people living off benefits, on Kingston Road in Stockton for Channel Four.

But Karl Coates, who has worked as a cameraman and producer for Sky News and BBC, said he fears the controversial TV show will only show Stockton in a negative light.

In a rebuttal to the image he expects the programme to portray of his beloved hometown, the cameraman has gone out to film his own short video to show all the great things about the area.

In the short videos  Karl states that Stockton, Teesside and the North East “will yet again be hung out to dry”.

The video has already had more than 8,300 views since being published on YouTube in August and initially shows shots of a street, believed to be the one the crew of Benefits Street are filming on. Karl then changes the tone of the video and words flash across the screen saying:

You will not however see any of these shots. The real Stockton my hometown”.

He then goes on to show landmarks such as the Infinity Bridge, by day and night, as well as the Tees Barrage,the Teesside Princess, the North Shore development, and the £38m regeneration of the high street.

In the video he says some residents are keen to be involved in a film showing Stockton in a positive light and are proud of where they live.

Karl said:

“An entire generation are about to be stigmatised, and that’s online globally through social media and within seconds when these programmes are broadcast to the outside world and for those who don’t know Stockton, its history and proud people, it will be forever associated as the town that’s on benefits.

Not as the home of the world’s first passenger railway or the invention of the friction match that lit up our planet, or indeed the town that’s having a 40 million pound make over that looks absolutely stunning.

“This program will have a direct impact on inward investment, jobs, trade, tourism and self-esteem.”

 

 

Karl added:

“Sometimes in life you have to jump off that fence and stand up for what you believe is right and I could give you a hundred reasons why filming Benefit’s Street in Stockton is simply wrong.

Love Productions say they are giving the minority a voice, well we all have a voice and its up to us to choose whether or not we use it, I’m afraid Love Productions, we have all seen the last series and are simply not stupid.”

Concerns have already been raised by MPs and other residents in the area about the filming of the show in Stockton following the first series which followed residents in an area of Birmingham.

He added:

“There is massive support from people who see the damage this programme will do to our community and I have a camera and all we can do it inform people what is going on and paint Stockton in the most picture perfect light possible. We can show people our Stockton, the real Stockton before the entire nation judges us.”

Source –  Middlesbrough Evening Gazette,  12 Oct 2014