somewhereto_ re:store (the high street heist) is a exhilarating campaign which aims to encourage young entrepreneurs, aged 16 – 25, to address the problems of the dying high street.
somewhereto_, funded by a £7m injection from the Big Lottery Fund, has seen the exciting initative re:store land in London and recently at the Corn Exchange, Manchester.
On the 25 July the Corn Exchange was treated to an explosion of creative activities from bring young minds from the North West and Yorkshire and Humberside.
somewhereto_ roving reporter Katie Gallagher was there on the day to interview the celebrity supporter of the campaign, the wonderful West End star Gareth Gates.
Recently, I had the pleasure of being invited along to the somewhereto_ re:store Manchester launch.
For those of you who don’t know, first of all, where have you been? More importantly, somewhereto_ re:store is a scheme which aims to help young people to “showcase their talents, kick start their businesses and reconnect with their communities by taking over some of the empty shops across the UK.”
Long-time performer and music artist Gareth Gates was the somewhereto_re:store special guest who popped along to the launch in Manchester to show his support. I had the opportunity to interview Gareth and to find out all of his thoughts on the scheme and also some of his forth-coming plans and business ventures.
It was so nice to see a celebrity support the community so much and he was clearly passionate about the scheme, too. Gareth emphasised how important it is to support such schemes as there is “so many young people are looking for things to do, they have a talent but nowhere to nurture it.” He expressed his belief that young people need this space to expose their talents and follow their dreams. He also stated how there is such a huge market ready for young entrepreneurs to revive empty and vacant high streets. For those of you wondering how to make it in the music industry yourself – like Gareth Gates or just in general -he recommends a lot of hard work and if you are interested in music then why not join a choir, start a music group or take up an instrument! All wise words from Gareth. He also stressed the point that it is important that you are “passionate about what you do.”
somewhereto_ re:store is all about filling up empty spaces on high streets and filling them with something to be proud of. I was interested to find out what Gareth would actually put in an empty shop should he have this opportunity. He told me of his family business plan. The Gates family intend to open a beauty shop; threading, waxing, nails, laser hair removal… you name it, and they will have it! While it seems Gareth is quite the beautician after he told me this, he made it apparent that, had he not been a performer from the age of 17, that he would have eventually found his way into the music industry anyway and that it would have always be his “end result”.
As a child, Gareth told me he couldn’t even talk due to his stammer. Music and singing was his only “source and release of expression” and the only place where he excelled and hence why both music and the somewhereto_ scheme are close to his heart as he is a first class example of what a lot of hard work, passion and determination can result in. And this is what the somewhereto_ scheme offers for young people ages 16-25; a place to express themselves and their talents. Opportunities like this are vital to give young people the chance to get started. Getting in contact couldn’t be easier with social networking sites like twitter and facebook!
Setting a good example, Gareth has always been a hard worker straight from the beginning and is such an inspiration to not only those involved in somewhereto_ but young, ambitious people everywhere. His success has been continuous, starting off as a singer and now performing in theatre performances such as Les Miserables. He told me he has had many highlights of his career so far, but it was hard for him to just pick one. He listed the fact he has had several number ones, sold millions of records, getting involved in charities and helping out. However the one Gareth seemed most proud of, that shone amongst the rest, was becoming a dad to his little girl who sat on his knee throughout the interview, as they were adorably inseparable. As I mentioned, currently Gareth is spending time starring in numerous plays. He told me of his most enjoyable roles so far which include being in Les Miserables, Legally Blonde and Joseph. He does have time to have a little fun though. I asked if he had any plans for his 30th birthday next year, as well as looking a little fearful at hearing the number thirty he sounded content and as if he is looking forward to spending some much deserved time with friends and family somewhere warm to celebrate.
Gareth Gates is such a great example of where persistence and passion can get you in life and obviously all those involved in somewhereto_ are setting themselves up for just as much success!
To find out more about somewhereto_ and the re:store movement visit their website: www.somewhereto.com