CHILDREN’S charity Barnardo’s showcased a music project called The Voice of Teesside in Stockton on Monday.

The charity has been working with pupils in the town to explore contemporary issues, develop communications skills and emotional literacy, and build musical knowledge.

The project has been especially targeted to young people who may be facing challenges and who could benefit from building their self-esteem.

A group of nine young people aged between 12 and 14-years-old revealed a song they had written at the showcase event along with the original track and a digital story to go with it.

The song, called Pause all the Problems, was predominately about being yourself and provided an insight into some of the experiences of young people in foster care.

The song addresses challenge and adversity but is positive in its outlook and encourages listeners to pause the problems and focus on the good times.

The overall project included five music groups to represent the five local authority areas in the Tees Valley, including Stockton, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Darlington and Redcar, ending with a sixth group comprised of identified pupils from each of the other five groups.

Mayor of Stockton, Councillor Lynn Hall said: “It was very humbling that the young people thanked everyone for something that they were doing.

"They are the ones who needed to be thanked.

“Their confidence is growing, you can see that, and we had very new students who could only just see over the lectern and it was inspirational for the rest of the school to see how much they’ve come on.

“I was thrilled with the lyrics of their song.

"Clearly it’s taken time and effort to get to that point and we need to listen.”

McKenzie, aged 13, said: “Children our age don’t normally get heard, so we don’t feel like we’re hiding in the shadows anymore.

"I think it’s been very beneficial. I’m happy because it shows that people in foster care have something to give because we’re brave, smart and talented.”

Heidi, aged 12, said: “I thought it was going to be boring but when we got into it we made friends.

"I’d like to thank my foster carers, if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be doing this. We can make a change and get our ideas across to make Teesside better.”

Rihanna, aged 12, added: “I thought it was going to be rubbish but it was great and now we have our own CD.”