Profile: Bringing Words to Life

This week HC Durham met up with Melanie Cornish, CEO of Newcastle-based charity Bringing Words to Life. After studying journalism at London College of Printing, Melanie went on to be a hip-hop journalist in New York for nearly 10 years working alongside names including 50 Cent, Mary J Blige and Jay Z – even writing a book, The Story of Hip Hop. Since then she has returned to the UK to set up her organisation. Bringing Words to Life works with both children and adults in the Gateshead area, helping them get involved with reading and writing. We caught up with Melanie to find out how it all began…

Hi Melanie! Tell us a little bit about why you started Bringing Words to Life.

It was back in 2012 and I had plans to begin a PR and marketing company. At the time I was working in a primary school running a magazine which was written and prodcued by the children. I realised that’s what I love – working with kids and helping people realise their potential through writing! So I began Bringing Words to Life, where our mission is to help people engage with literacy and find their own voices.

What sorts of things does the charity do?

We run events in schools and with the community, we have courses which people can get involved with; some of these help aspiring writers, others focus on building CVs or improving communication skills. A couple of years ago we began an after-school club which was helping kids get into journalism and that grew into our biggest project, our online magazine B**P. It’s written by young people for young people, and we cover loads of stuff – music, politics, books - both current affairs and pop culture.

Tell us more about B**P!

It's such an exciting project because not only does it give young people the opportunity to write, but to see their work published. It gives them an insight into the worlds of journalism and publishing and what it’s like to have your work seen and read by other people. I’ve felt very lucky in my career to have had so many opportunities, and we want to help young people in the same way.

Do you have any plans for the future?

Short-term we are working on an app for B**P with the aim of making it more accessible and reaching a wider audience. We’d like to employ more young writers and offer apprenticeships and internships, looking to develop as a business. Long-term the ideal would be expansion to Manchester and London. We’d like to engage with young people all over the country. The most important thing for us is that the kids are the face of our organisation – that’s what it’s all about, giving them experiences and opportunities which they can use throughout their lives and careers.

Thanks for catching up with us Melanie! If you’d like to check out the work Melanie and her team do, have a look at their website: