Half-term project helps ‘hard-to-reach’ young people develop film skills

by antonydunn on February 14, 2012

East Feast - Feb 2012 (c) Yorkshire Dance

This half-term, Young people from the Seacroft area of Leeds are developing their filmmaking skills as they take part in a three-day film challenge at Yorkshire Dance and produce a short movie about hip-hop dancing.

The teenagers are all members of East Feast, an initiative set up in east Leeds which enables ‘hard-to-reach’ young people to participate fully in arts and cultural activity and help shape local decision making about creative provision. The project is run by Space2, a local charity which uses the arts to promote positive change.

The half term project is one of many cultural activities the youngsters have been taking part in over the past few years. They are filming members of Yorkshire Dance Youth and Yorkshire Dance Youth Juniors – two urban dance companies mainly made up of young people from the Seacroft and Richmond Hill area of Leeds.

Space2’s Young People’s Project Co-Ordinator Emma Hopkinson says: “The aim is to give these young people the confidence, knowledge and skills to access arts provision locally and across the City, to have their own opinions and a means of influencing local decision makers.”

In some cases the project has enabled individuals to take big steps in their personal development, including returning to school, applying for college and volunteering on local programmes. The project particularly targets hard-to-reach young people and those already interested in arts and culture.

The biggest achievement of the project was the selection, 18 months ago, of four members of the group to represent England on a cultural exchange trip to France, where they presented their art work to HRH the Prince of Wales.

Several participants have pursued further training in media and one has overcome exclusion from school to return and complete her education. Many of the group now access other arts provision both locally and in the city centre, including guitar lessons, East Leeds Youth Theatre, Carriageworks Theatre Group, Breeze Arts Foundation, school productions and the Seacroft Voices of the Day community choir. All the participants have received Bronze Arts Awards and are now working towards their Silver Awards. Four of the young people’s achievements have also been recognised at city level with three bronze PAYP (Positive Activities for Young People) Awards being won and one Gold PAYP Award.

The film challenge project is funded by Jimbos Fund and the finished film will be shown at Hyde Park Picture House in April.

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