Pilgrim Street Arts Theatre is conveniently placed near to bus, ferry and rail transport links near Priory Wharf in Birkenhead. What happens inside is impressive!
What happens there is held up as examples of good practice on local, regional and national platforms! Wirral SEND Participation is on the map!
Wirral was the first Local Authority to appoint a ‘home grown SEND young person’ as a full time paid employee. Poppy is Wirral’s SEND Youth Engagement Officer. Poppy attended and still does attend Pilgrim Street and has benefitted from the expertise, time and support she and others get from the team of professionals. In turn, Poppy now supports the many youngsters attending sessions and uses her direct route into the voice of SEND Youth to ensure that their views are shared and heard. We have a constant strand of youth voice running through all we do.
The Local Offer meets with the group and supports them with the issues they raise. Annual SEND Youth Voice Conferences are held and the young people really appreciate local leaders from Health, Education, Social Care, Councillors and the third sector coming along to listen to their frustrations which they convey through debate, dance and drama. The practitioners them pledge an action to deliver within their area of specialism to address an issue raised.
Creative Youth Development at Pilgrim Street is where Wirral SEND young people access a range of fantastic groups to support, develop and aspire them to live as independent lives as possible. These include sessions like:
Youth Voice Group – Monday 5:00-6:00pm (Teams) Ages 11-19 years (up to 25 years with additional needs)
SEND Youth Voice Group – Tuesday 6:00-9:00pm (Teams – groups are split into hour time slots – 6-7pm, 7-8pm, 8-9pm) Ages 11-19 years (up to 25 years with additional needs)
Wednesday Integrated Dance – Wednesday 6:00-9:00pm (Teams – groups are split into hour time slots – 6-7pm, 7-8pm, 8-9pm) Ages 11-19 years (up to 25 years with additional needs)
Saturday Children Looked After Dance & Drama – Saturday 10:00-11:00am (For those in foster care) Ages 8-14 years.
Saturday Junior (open) Dance & Drama – Saturday 11:00-12:00pm for anyone between ages 8-14 years.
Disabilities within these groups include, Downs-Syndrome, Autism, Asperger’s, Physical disabilities (wheelchair / walker), ADHD and Learning difficulties.
Creative Youth Development use a Peer Educator process to develop confidence, citizenship and leadership skills and this ensures new starters are always well looked after. The young people see Pilgrim Street as their ‘safe place’ and they welcome visitors such as ourselves at the Local Offer to go along to their sessions to hear first hand how life in Wirral is going well or maybe not so well. We in turn take their feedback and progress what we can or escalate identified gaps in service to Commissioners.
Creative Youth Development (CYD) delivers a programme of weekly workshops, training programmes, group work projects and individual support work that enables young people who are vulnerable and at risk to overcome barriers to achieving their potential.
Young people aged 8 – 19 (25 SEND) are referred in by a range of services and the breadth and focus of work enables them to access and progress within the programme in a safe and nurturing environment. During 2019/20 young people have been referred in from Social Care including social workers and family support workers , The Adoption Society, CAMHS, Response, Schools, Youth clubs and units, Children Looked After team, Local Offer team, Barnardos , The Hive, Compass team The HIVE, Youth Offending Team, Response and Health Services in Schools.
Creative methods are employed to encourage young people to improve their physical and emotional well-being. Participative art is a powerful tool to use with the most vulnerable and disenfranchised young people who often struggle to communicate their needs, wants and dreams for a happy and productive life.
Using a person-centred approach and creative learning environments means that the young people develop coping mechanisms safely and be supported to flourish.
In this period, children and young people have presented with a range of life challenges including coping with change and trauma, body image, substance misuse, abusive relations, peer pressure, school anxiety and stress, hate crime, isolation, depression, on-line exploitation, teenage pregnancy, school exclusion, bullying, disabilities, physical and emotional abuse.
Outcomes for the young people include raising self-esteem, developing skills for life, communication skills, understanding emotions, mindfulness skills, career development, reduced risk-taking behaviour, improved mental health and well-being, reduced isolation, protection from abuse, access to support services like counselling, advocacy support during times of crisis, inclusion and community engagement. Specific outcomes and impact of the work is described under each delivery team’s activities.
Where appropriate the work is profiled in the form performances, music gigs, touring productions, exhibitions and in venues such as the Pilgrim Street Theatre, schools, and professional galleries such as the Open Eye Gallery in Liverpool. Work is also celebrated in community settings to raise a positive profile of young people and promote community pride and cohesion.
The CYD staff team are multi skilled and qualified in youth worker, teaching and in their arts specialisms and most to degree level. They are aspirational and tenacious in their delivery and motivated by the young people they work with to enable them to achieve their best work and the most positive outcomes.
Strong partnerships exist with arts organisations, statutory and voluntary specialist support services including Wirral’s Local Offer and with education and health services. In addition to referrals, this takes the form of paid commissions and grants to deliver bespoke project work with targeted groups or issue-based packages for young people and training for professionals.
Have a look at this great set of slides which details the what, why, who, how and the significant outcomes achieved at Pilgrim Street Arts Theatre.
If you are interested in finding out more about the range of activities please contact Seline Wakerley : [email protected]