With youth unemployment at a 17-year high, DJ and events organiser Leroy Allen, 16, from
Willington, County Durham, has created a job for himself. The youngster, who beat scores of adults to win The Northern Echo’s If We Can, You Can challenge, has given us the first of his regular progress reports

SINCE winning The Northern Echo’s If We Can You Can (IWCYC) challenge, run by the Entrepreneurs’ Forum, my feet have not touched the ground.

Attending the Forum’s Who Dares Wins conference with 300 of the region’s top business people was an amazing experience in itself.

Then, to be announced as the winner of IWCYC at the awards ceremony in the evening, thanks in the most part to the public voting for me, was just brilliant.

The prize was professional advice and guidance from PwC, Yorkshire Bank and Eversheds and I’ve already had my first productive meetings with them.

The focus has been about raising awareness of my business Fabrik Events and raising money for Tara Sowerby – a 14-year-old schoolgirl who is suffering from leukaemia.

At my Fabrik events in Willington and Bishop Auckland I charged an extra pound for entry for Tara’s appeal and raffled prizes during events, raising £1,200. I also organised a Fabrik club night called A Night for Tara at my school, St John’s RC Academy, in Bishop Auckland, where the full £4 entry went to the fund.

I also ran a DJ set at the North- East Motor Fest, at Nissan, in Sunderland.

In between that it was my school prom.

More recently, I was at St Wilfred’s Comprehensive School, in South Shields , doing a charity event for St Oswald’s Children’s Hospice.

A teacher heard about me and sent me an email asking if I would help her, so I did.

We had a DJ and equipment in the restaurant area and played requests for 50p towards the charity.

South Tyneside is a new area for me, so, as well as raising money for another good cause it helped to spread the word about Fabrik.

I am being mentored by the Entrepreneurs’ Forum’s events manager Victoria Rought, who has given me some fantastic advice.

She has a lot of knowledge in lots of areas and when I left the first meeting with her I was absolutely buzzing.

Victoria got me an introduction to Darren Williams, of Harland Corporation.

Darren and I had a lot in common.

He is a really great guy with some good ideas as well.

I have also been looking at a few potential venues for expansion, in Ushaw Moor, South Shields and Newcastle.

With my GCSEs behind me and school finishing, I’m planning on spending the rest of the summer concentrating on the business before I start sixth form in September.

􀁧 Follow Leroy on Twitter @djleroyallen and at facebook.