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Two weeks into lockdown one the face to face sessions moved on line. Workers adapted their classes creatively and sourced It provision for those unable to access on line activities. The Local Offer supported at the Tuesday evening SEND Youth Voice group sessions and was able to take issues raised and resolve them before the problem became too big.

Poppy, our SEND Engagement Officer also offered her support and attended the weekly sessions. She listened to the young people’s concerns and offered reassurance where she could. In September Poppy helped to organise an online festival called ‘Pilgrimbury’. It was a huge success and the young people loved it! During the weekend long festival different dance, photography, comedy, musical and debating activities were hosted. The SEND young people were asked what issues lockdown had brought them. Here are some of the issues Poppy captured:

Worry as to when lockdown would ease

Being shouted at for not wearing a mask (when exempt)

Hit and miss support from College

Some but not enough calls from allocated social worker

Those usually in supported living were back home with Parent/Carers and feeling like it was a backword step

No work to go to

Couldn’t attend a family member’s funeral

Level of care input was reduced due to shielding


In October the staff at Creative Youth Development hosted another big online event called ‘Spookybury’. The costumes were fantastic and really rather scary. Halloween themed games and various performances made for a fantastic night and one the young people talked about for weeks The Local Offer ran a Halloween crafts competition with suggestions courtesy of Poppy on the website as to how to make lots of fun and ghoulish things.

The online classes continued and the young people loved being able to ‘see’ one another – sometimes this was the only contact they were having with similar aged young people. They cleared spaces in their bedrooms to be able to have space to dance or over the summer months many took to dancing outside. Here’s a timetable of the range of art based activities available.


On-line workshops and events currently during lockdown


YOUTH VOICE GROUP                                                     5- 6pm                                   Ages 11-19 years (up to 25 years with additional needs)         

 ID DANCE                                                                          6-7pm                                    Ages 16+                                                                             

TECHNICAL THEATRE                                                      6–8pm                                  Ages 11-19 years (up to 25 years with additional needs)


DRAMA                                                                               5-7pm                                   Ages 11-19 years (up to 25 years with additional needs)    

SEND YOUTH VOICE GROUP                                          6-9pm                                  Ages 11-19 years (up to 25 years with additional needs)

ANIME VISUAL ARTS sessions                                       6-8pm                                  Ages 11-19 years (up to 25 years with additional needs)


PHOTOGRAPHY VISUAL ARTS                                       6-8pm                                   Ages 11-19 years (up to 25 years with additional needs)


VOCAL SESSIONS                                                            5- 8pm                                  Ages 11-19 years (up to 25 years with additional needs)    

SEND life skills                                                                  6-8pm                                  Ages 11-19 years (up to 25 years with additional needs)  


Children Looked After Dance & Drama                         10-11am                                  Ages 8-14 years.

Junior (open) Dance & Drama                                        11-12:00pm                            Ages 8-14 years.

Feedback from Parent/Carers about how attending the online sessions at Creative Youth Development during COVID 19 has had a positive impact on their child/young person .

“‘I really believe your service has been a lifeline for our family, the struggles the boys have had. Services are already cut, and the young people are the ones losing out. The boys are so vulnerable. We see you as an extension to our family way of life. The past year has been hard for all and we have all had to adapt. During it all, you reached out to the boys all the way through. Seriously, now is the time when our children need you”

“Please accept our thanks as M’s Mum & Dad for all the hard work that you all did as a staff team during 2020. The Christmas party and evening activities were absolutely brilliant and M really enjoyed the peaceful activities that you took time and effort to run. M has made a word cloud of helping hands for you all to send you his thanks. Please can this be circulated to all staff involved and to your line/service managers so that they know what a huge difference your service makes to us”


“I meant to write sooner but just wanted to say a huge thank to you and all the staff involved with running the online dance sessions.  Not only starting off during lockdown but continuing all through the summer. It has been an absolute lifeline and its really helped our son immensely. He really does live to dance and see everyone- it’s such an important part of his life & wellbeing. “

” I wanted to take this opportunity to highlight the work that the Creative Youth Development team have done with my daughter .She has Downs syndrome and autism and has been a member of the dance groups with Seline Wakerley and Claire Parr for several years. She attends the inclusive dance sessions and is also a peer educator .The CYD team have been one of the most important part of her life since she was about 11 . She has flourished with the dancing over the years  but it has been the emotional support and guidance they have given her over the years that have been so beneficial . We have not experienced true inclusion like she has there anywhere else .

However the team have gone over and above since the COVID situation and I would be grateful if this was acknowledged . They have offered sessions through Microsoft Teams which were my daughter’s main link with the “outside world “ during lockdown and an opportunity do see her friends  via her tablets . These sessions are carrying on and have brought some much needed structure to her life They continued to offer the same level of emotional support to her and to myself . They helped me overcome my fear of technology and remote learning so that she could access the sessions . This had a knock on effect so I managed to find a couple of other activities she could do on line .

The Pilgrimbury festival they hosted online must have involved a great deal of work and organisation but again the CYD team excelled themselves .

I had commented to someone that  my daughter and I would not have been able to get through the last six months without them and decided to take the time to share this with yourselves”

At Christmas there was an online Christmas party to beat all Christmas parties. Young people and their workers all singing, dancing, acting, playing Christmas themed games and generally having a ball! The SEND young people who attend classes had all worked so hard to produce a festive programme to cheer everyone up. Approximately 50 young people and staff were treated to a performance of The Grinch who stole Christmas, a signing of We wish you a Merry Christmas, a dance to Jingle Bell rock, a vocal performance of Stay another day, a solo of Santa Claus is coming to town and a ballet dance to Swan Lake.

Smiley faces, positive comments in the chat and a bucketful of camaraderie rarely seen these days.

Learning from lockdown one just how important the on line sessions were, the team At Creative Youth Development designed a programme of activities leading up to Christmas and also each evening in between Christmas and New Year. Card and bauble decorating, quizzes and bingo. The sessions leading up to New Year were full of positivity to get 2021 off to a great start.




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