What we do
Our diverse programme is delivered by professional artists and trained pastoral staff for young people aged 10–24, and includes drama, film-making, percussion, music and carnival arts in regular weekly sessions, school projects, community workshops, summer schools and national performance opportunities. Based in one of the most deprived areas of County Durham, an area lacking in arts and cultural provision, the project evolved in response to demand from young people requiring support with wellbeing issues such as social isolation, disengagement, anxiety, depression, self-harm, bullying, low aspiration and sexual/gender identity. We receive support from our Area Action Partnership, NHS Health Improvement and Youth Music, engage in robust partnerships with other arts organisations, artists, schools, venues and community organisations, and take referrals from CAMHS, social/youth services and the Youth Employment Initiative. Throughout the programme, we have reduced the demand on statutory services, including NHS, CAMHS, GPs, Mental Health Services and Social Services, as well as non-statutory organisations, such as Durham County Carers, supported living services, Young Carers support and Youth Service. Our assessment tools have shown an improvement in wellbeing in 81% of our core participants. Ten young people progressed from participation to volunteering and peer-mentoring responsibilities and 11 NEET (not in education, employment and training) young people were supported into work. An external evaluation by Dr Trish Winter of Sunderland University explored the impact of the creative programme on participants’ wellbeing and is available on our website.