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Telling Your Story 2

Telling Your Story 2 was a programme of three 8 week creative wellbeing programmes delivered as after school programmes in 3 Hastings and Bexhill schools during 2016-2017.

Each was facilitated by two artists, one bringing youth work experience. The programme was supported by the Hastings and Rother Reducing Health Inequalities fund.

Objectives

As a result of this work it was intended that young people would:

  • Develop creative skills and identify how these contribute to broader well-being
  • Become more confident in themselves
  • Feel less isolated in school through accessing a group where they can share issues, tackle problems together, and develop coping strategies
  • Identify routes to develop creative interests and access further support

Who was involved

  • Practitioners: Hilary Watkins (a youth worker/story teller), Nick Pilton (film maker/ theatre director), Janey Moffatt (digital artist, maker and film maker)
  • Schools: young people from years 8, 9 and 10 at Bexhill Academy, Ark William Parker Academy, Ark Helenswood Academy

Activities

Each programme ran over 8 weeks, building a safe ‘listening’ space and creative space in which the young people could explore issues and tell their story through a variety of creative activities.

Activities responded to young people’s interests and included drama, song writing, arts, craft, digital arts and film making, as well as a gallery trip and outdoor activity.

Outcomes

The young people’s engagement in the programme demonstrates its value to them. In each school young people ‘voted with their feet’ with the majority attending all 8 after school sessions, and many Many carrying out work at home between sessions. Students in every school have asked for the groups to continue.

Many young people reflected on the value of the creative activity, taking pride in creating short meme films, enjoying the flow as they worked at making collage, taking the opportunity to talk about experiences through song lyrics, and enjoying the sense of accomplishment in performing for others. For some the chance to switch off has been key.

The group work itself has been beneficial; valuable friendships were developed, and the opportunity to problem solve together helped build resilience and reduce the isolation many experienced in school.

Young people and schools report on growing confidence and positive changes in behaviour.

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With regards to the programme I would say it was spot on. Staff have talked about how well the students engaged with the programme and the students still talk positively about it now.

Pastoral lead, Bexhill Academy

I don’t really want it to be useful – I just like relaxing. I loved making stress balls and making a mess.

Student, Ark William Parker Academy

It has helped me because I have learnt about positivity. I have seen good things happening in my life because of this

Student, Bexhill Academy

I have learned to keep trying… I have learned to be proud.

Student, Ark Helenswood Academy