GRAMMY award-winning director Geoff Wonfor is to help young people get a start in the music business.

The director of The Beatles Anthology has pledged to “do anything he can” to help Humantics, the North-East’s first community interest company (CIC) flourish.

At the official handover of Darlington’s Forum music centre to Humantics, the music video and documentary director was named official patron of the organisation.

Humantics has now taken over the running of the popular music venue, which was threatened with closure last year.

The CIC, which has no shareholders and will reinvest all profits back into the company, is also expanding into offering apprenticeships for young people in music and behind- the-scenes trades including production.

The scheme, which will take on 20 people aged 16 to 20 next month, will train youngsters through experts working with Humantics.

The apprentices will get paid, on-the-job training at live events the company has been commissioned to work on by both the private and public sector.

The move comes after the centre became a Yamaha Music School, which teaches seven to 11- year-olds drums and guitar.

It is planning to expand into vocals and keyboards, taking all ages, including adults.

At the launch yesterday, Mr Wonfor, who has worked with The Beatles, Prince and Annie Lennox, promised to spend as much time as he could working with and training the young people.

“I want to give something back,” said Mr Wonfor, who is from Newcastle.

“My intentions are to do anything I can. I will teach, I will come and give master classes. I talk to kids anytime I am free.”

Also attending the launch was Darlington Borough Council leader John Williams, Sara Burgess, the CIC Regulator at Companies House, and Yamaha Music Schools education manager Nigel Burrows.

David Cox, one of Humatics’ directors, said the company, which started trading in January, was the ultimate Big Society model.

“It has been a mammoth and highly complex task to get to this point.

The result is Humantics CIC. There are no shareholders.

All the profits are returned into the interested community.

“It is based on the principal of both community needs and market demands, yet it still provides affordable and accessible resources.

“We believe this is the foundation of the cornerstone of the Big Society.”

􀁧 Any young people who are interested in the music and technical apprenticeships should call The Forum on 01325- 363135.