YOUNGSTERS producing a magazine to celebrate a charity’s 20th anniversary got tips from the top on a visit to the Echo.

A group of ten writers, artists, photographers and cartoonists aged 16 to 25 will publish a magazine to celebrate two decades of Southend YMCA, which helps prevent youth homelessness, in November.

Some of the team have been helped by the charity, which provides sheltered housing, training and education for young people at risk of homelessness.

Photographer Cara Lough, 16, of Hockley, said: “I have always been interested in volunteering and this is a unique opportunity to get involved with an amazing local charity.

“It’s brilliant to have the chance to increase my photography skills and broaden my experience, too.”

Kelsey Hibberd, 20, of Rayleigh, said: “Many mainstream magazines are so superficial readers are constantly being told they are too fat, too thin, it’s good to be single or be force fed stories about famous people who have had too much Botox or have too many wrinkles.

“But not all young people are interested in this sort of subject matter.

“It’s fine to read celebrity magazines at times, but we want to provide a balance and offer reading material that’s a bit of an alternative to mainstream culture, with a local focus.”

But first, the aspiring journalists visited the Echo to learn how a newspaper is produced, how the website is updated and pick up some interview tips from Echo deputy editor Chris Hatton and deputy chief reporter Chloe Chapman.

Project co-ordinator, Jane Dolby, said: “A person could have had the most incredible career or adventures and travel,s but all too often when we look in the face of an older person we don’t see past the wrinkles to the life that face contains.

“We worship at the idol of youth, whereas in other cultures age is revered and respected because of the wisdom that comes with being older.

“We would love to meet with and interview older Southend residents who’d like to share their stories and be featured in our magazine.”

Anyone aged 16 to 25 interested in joining the team or contributing to the magazine should email