Young Urban Arts Foundation has the ability to engage with people wherever they may be. With many youth centres closed down, our bus is an opportunity for young people to meet, make new friends, learn new skills and keep busy – which helps prevent them from becoming involved in anti-social behaviour, gangs and drugs.
‘The bus came to the estate once a week for six weeks. We noticed the difference in anti-social behaviour after just two. These kids just want something to do. They don’t want to be breaking into cars or annoying members of the community, they need something to stimulate their minds, something to challenge them. I would definitely recommend bringing the bus to any community that needs it. Being a police officer, it’s always a challenge talking to the kids on these estates because they don’t trust us. We came to the final session of this programme and it was nice to have a normal conversation with the kids, without any bad feelings – we need more of this.’
Community Police Officer, Royal Borough of Lewisham
The Outreach Media Bus creates a safe space for young people to channel their emotions and feelings, which reduces stress and can help prevent early stages of mental health, such as depression.
‘I used to do nothing with my life. I had no direction, no real relationship with my parents and felt like there was no hope for me. I just didn’t care or want to change. One day I was at my friend’s house and I heard some music playing outside and saw the bus. I got involved in the music workshops and loads of the other workshops and courses. I started volunteering and taking any opportunity I could through the support of the team and, after just one year, I found the confidence to get myself a full-time job, my own apartment and now I don’t drink or use drugs anymore. I really don’t know where I would be if the bus didn’t turn up on my estate that day’.
Jerome Johnson, aged 19.
The Outreach Media Bus is used primarily as an engagement tool – a ‘carrot’ to get young people interested in something. Our trained artist facilitators, who mostly come from similar backgrounds, can relate to and inspire the young people through their experiences and exercises in the workshops. Once we have their attention, we work with associate partners to enrol them into further programmes for training and employment.
‘The bus was commissioned to engage with Peabody young people through the music and creative workshops, to promote the Peabody Young Leaders Programme. In total 78 young people registered their interest in the programme. The Young Leaders programme successfully ran 14 youth-led projects in 2015. 80% of these young people have continued to access Peabody’s Young People Services programmes after completing their Young Leaders project. This work would not have been possible if it wasn’t for the successful engagement work carried out by Young Urban Arts Foundation in the early stages of this programme.
As a Youth Development Coordinator, I am always searching for providers who talk the talk and walk the walk when it comes to engaging and enriching the lives of young people they work with – Young Urban Arts Foundation is one of these providers.’
Brendan Lambert, Peabody Youth Development Coordinator