“Although I didn’t live here for the very start of my life, I definitely do have a strong connection to the northeast,” says Matilda Neill, 17, from Whitley Bay near Newcastle.
Neill, who has worked on the Young People’s Charter for Arts and Culture, a Legacy Trust UK programme for the northeast, was born in St Albans near London and spent the first few years of her life there. While Neill says she pronounces certain words in a more “southern” way, she definitely identifies as a northerner. Her mother is from up north and her father, who lived in Essex until his 20s, also has northern roots. In fact, she can even trace his family line back to the first ever Co-op.
The northeast might be struggling economically and lagging behind in terms of ethnic diversity, but that does not mean the region has little to offer. Far from it, as Neill explains.
Watch the video in full to hear what she has to say.