A RYE Harbour Company is helping shape the future of local youngsters.
Entertainment Workshops is working with Rye College students teaching them sound, lighting and performance skills.
It also plays a vital role in helping youngsters who have problems fitting into a school environment and has been praised by police and local councillors.
This week saw the launch of two brand new studios thanks to a National Lottery grant.
They were officially opened on Monday by East Enders actor Sam Attwater.
It is a remarkable come-back for the company which had more than £50,000 worth of equipment stolen in two burglaries last year.
Now it is set to play a leading role in Rye College’s bid to open a new Studio School in the town, which will specialise in the arts.
Young people are able to benefit from a state-of-the-art green screen video suite and a fully equipped recording studio, both of which will be put to full use with expert tuition on hand.
The new facilities have been made possible due to a £9,000 National Lottery grant and a big community effort with musicians and other supporters doing much of the construction work themselves.
Rye town and district councillor Sam Souster said: “What is happening here is absolutely incredible. It is giving local kids a real chance.”
Rye county councillor Keith Glazier said: “This is a fantastic resource for young people. Tremendously well done.”
Rye College head of music Chris McGeever said: “ I fully support what they are doing here. We have some superb bands and musicians at the college and this is creating further opportunities for them and giving them somewhere to go outside of school hours.”
The company was established by David Byrne with the help of sons Paul and Michael, who have had experience in working on top West End shows and programmes such as The X-Factor and Big Brother.
David himself says he has been in the entertainments business since the age of 11 and is known locally as an impersonator of TV character Del Boy.
David said: “Youngsters are not pegs that fit in certain holes and some have difficulty fitting into conventional education models.
“Creative industries are one of the fasted growing areas of business at the moment and we are offering the opportunity to get involved using industry standard equipment.
“The only limit to what we can do here is the limit of the kids’ imagination.”
David said the project has involved a lot of hard work. He said: “We have been here three years now and it was tough going at first. People were slow to see the potential of what we are doing and get behind us but now we have fantastic support from the local community and it has really taken off.
“To my knowledge there is nowhere else like this in the South East. The model of what we are doing here could go national. This is the future.”