Sunday, June 7, 2009

June 2009 - SYPC website nominated for prestigious award

SYPC website nominated for prestigious award

Slough Young People’s Centre is an innovative peer led project, which is nationally recognised as an example of good practice. We work in a uniquely holistic way with disadvantaged 14-25 year olds. Our work is covered by three main strands; Information & Advice, Creative Opportunities and Enterprise. These three strands collaborate and interlink with each other to provide young people with support through clear progression routes into education or employment.

What the challenge was

Slough is a densely populated, urban area situated in the east of Berkshire, just west of London. It has a fast growing population, which, with close to 40% of residents from a Black or Minority ethnic background, is also one of the highest BME populations outside of London. There are high levels of asylum seekers, and economic migrants. Slough has wards in the top 10% most deprived nationally. Overall, our economy is buoyant, although Slough residents do not have the skills necessary to participate in and benefit from this success. Around 70% of the 56,000 full time jobs available in Slough are filled by people who travel in from outside the town.

What was done

SYPC staff decided to provide innovative creative opportunities for young people to develop and achieve. The flagship programme introduced in 2003 was the Afterhours Arts Academy; targeting disadvantaged 16-25 year olds who had often fallen out of mainstream education and respond better to an unconventional educational structure. The courses are free, yet are accredited by nationally recognised bodies such as OCN, NCFE and Arts Awards.

How was it done

The programme has been running successfully for five years and attracts funders such as Arts Council England, Lifelong Learning and SEEDA. A team of three young staff fundraise, co-ordinate the programme and market it to all young people across the borough. Focus groups ensure that courses delivered are relevant and cutting edge and the website offers a space to upload work created and social networking for artists to collaborate.

What the results or outcomes were

Many young people have achieved great things since attending the Afterhours Arts Academy. Some have used their qualifications to apply for and attend University, others have become Creative Apprentices at SYPC, six creative enterprises have spawned from the project such as a graphic design company, dance companies and a theatre company and on evaluation forms the most common achievement listed by young people is confidence gained. The Academy has held many events with students performing at national events such as the World Rowing Championships. Over 200 students have gained qualifications and the project reached the finals of the National Lottery Awards for Best Arts Project.