A GROUP of young people from Barnet is using the positive power of poetry and music to encourage others to turn their back on guns and gang culture.

Words Apart is a group of 14 young people based in north London who share a love of music and poetry. Members hold regular practice sessions at the Canada Villa Youth Centre in Mill Hill.

One member, Mohamed-Zain Dada, 18, of Friern Barnet Lane, said the recent riots and looting in London had showed young people channelling their anger and frustration.

He said: “There is always the perception of young people being a group of hoodies that are not doing anything to help their community.

“If youth issues are tackled and young people are pushed in the right direction, they would be on their way to being a positive young person.

“We use poetry and music as a healing process, which helps us to channel our personal frustration and anger through the arts.”

Words Apart has recently been involved in a film project called Mother Britain which explores what being British means to young people in a multi-culture society. They used music, rap and poetry to create the film.

Zain added: “In just a few months, I have seen changes in people I know through the power of poetry.”

Zain has organised a Poetry Live Lounge which takes place on Friday, August 26, in Willesden Green which he hopes will bring young people together in a creative environment.

Young poets and musicians will be invited to perform poems, rap and music in an open-mike atmosphere, which Zain hopes will happen on a monthly basis.

He has teamed up with Ulfa Aid, a London charity which assists homeless people across the globe.

Ulfa Aid has opened its own café, Rumi’s Cave in Willesden Lane, where the Poetry Live Lounge will be held from 5.30pm.

Eds Dasilva, 18, of Banstock Road, Edgware, a member of Words Apart who will perform at the Live Lounge, said: “Poetry and music gives you an opportunity to express yourself, which then opens doors for you to follow and pursue your dreams.

“Poetry can take you away from the negative things that are happening in your area which then become irrelevant when you find your voice and who you are.

“We want to encourage people of our age to involve themselves in positive things as a British community, instead of gangs and gun crime.”

The Poetry Live Lounge will raise money for the victims of the East Africa famine, with a £2 admission charge.

For more information visit www.wordsapart7.blogspot.com