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Creative boost for children and young people

Creative boost for children and young people
09 February 2017

A special arts project is offering a wealth of creative opportunities for children and young people in care and the adults in their lives.

The ‘Head, Heart and Hands’ project was developed with by arts and cultural programme manager and Blue Cabin director Jenny Young who was awarded £30,000 from the Arts Council England (ACE) National Lottery Funded Grants for the Arts programme.

Working in partnership with Darlington Borough Council, Creative Darlington and arts and cultural organisations in the area, the project aims to encourage and develop access and participation in the arts for looked after children and young people, and the adults in their lives

As part of the project, foster carer Carole Ridley and others were given the chance to train as an Arts Award Adviser. The Arts Award programme supports children and young people, up to 25 and of all abilities, to develop as artists and arts leaders.

Carole, from Darlington, is now supporting an eight-year-old boy through his Discover and Explore Arts Award and together they have explored lots of different creative activities including painting, architecture, drawing and sculpture. They have also visited the National Glass Centre in Sunderland and Arc, Stockton.

Carole explained:

“I have seen my young person blossom in his creative ability; he has grown in confidence and soaks up experiences like a sponge. It has widened his understanding of the ‘arts’ and made him more keenly aware of his surroundings and appreciate that creativity is all around us and enhances our lives.

“As for me, it has helped me take a new look at what it means to be creative, given me the tools to mentor arts activities, build positive relationships and above all have FUN.”

Jenny added:

“We are delighted that more than 55 children and young people, 40 foster carers and 15 residential workers have taken part in a wide variety of creative activities so far, including MCing, DJing, music making, craft, drama and Graffiti.

“Participants have told us that as a result of taking part they have made new friends, had fun and feel more confident trying out new activities. They also report feeling more connected to the people around them and feeling part of the heritage of the town. Blue Cabin is in the process of applying for funding to continue delivering this project beyond April 2017.”

Councillor Cyndi Hughes, Darlington Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said:

“The Head, Heart and Hands project is proving to be very popular with youngsters and adults alike and is exposing them to a wide range of positive, new experiences.

“We want to ensure every child in Darlington has the best possible start in life and has access to everything our borough has to offer, including the arts.”

For more information about the project visit

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