Ellie, our apprentice here at thebestof Bolton, and I, were very privileged to be invited to xplode magazines 2nd year birthday celebrations event last week at the Bolton Hub.
Xplode magazine was set up by Saeed Atcha. Still a teenager himself, he was fed up of reading about all the negative stereotypes of young people in the media, so wanted to start something that would reverse that trend. So he came up with the idea of Xplode magazine. Anyone between the ages of 12 and 19 could work on the magazine, regardless of their ability or background. He had the idea in September 2011, the first issue was published in May 2012 and since then 7 issues have been produced by the teenagers, for teenagers every quarter.
They all have lots of roles in the magazine, including head of showbiz, journalist and even interviewing candidates who want to join in with the project. Content in the magazine covers everything from applying for university, health issues to more light hearted topics like fashion and music reviews.
The magazine could never have been launched without the help of some brilliant people and schemes, 02’s Go Think Big Project, the Big Bolton Fund, Bolton Council of Mosques, Asda and Bolton Council. Amy Doram, 02 Business Mentor for Xplode magazine, was present at the birthday event and said she was a very proud mentor, but was thanked for all her support by receiving a bunch of flowers from the team.
Many of the other backers of the magazine were at the event too, as well as honoured guests like the mayor and mayoress of Bolton, MP David Crausby and various local council members. Mayor Colin Shaw and the head of Bolton Council Cliff Shaw both did a short speech, and there was a special video message for Saeed from head of 02 telephonica Ronan Dunne.
Then it was time for the cutting of the cake and some networking, to find out more about the wonderful people who work so hard making Xplode magazine happen.
The volunteers were asked about how working on Xplode magazine had helped them, and incredibly 100% of them said it had encouraged them to help the community more. A significant percentage said it helped their teamwork skills and another large number said it was a good experience to put on their CV when applying for future jobs.
What the young people have achieved in only 2 years is remarkable. They have gone from distributing 500 copies to over double that, but have ambitions to increase that even further. With the ambition and talent that we saw at the event, I’ve no doubt they will reach that goal.