by Ali Franks, Drama Development Worker
We have been running a number of projects in the Bridgend area over the past year with young people and families that are part of the Families First Welsh Government programme. This work has included starting a new year with the B2P project with vulnerable young people looking to reintegrate into school, the “I am…” project for women escaping abusive relationships, our summer arts programme with children in Betws and a new arts project with Brynmenyn homeless hostel working with children and their mums.
Drama for Emotional Health B2P commenced for the new year with a new group of young people. Our partnership link here is very much an account of best practice, as we have been working with EOTAS for a number of years now, meet regularly to discuss the ongoing needs of the young people and how we can best tailor the workshops to their needs while also adding value to the other inventions they are receiving. These workshops focus specifically on relationships and behavioural and emotional coping strategies and I am continuing to develop new and innovative exercises to help the young people with these specific needs.
The “I am…” Project has developed to a place where we are now tackling the specific needs of the young mums in response to their relationships and difficulties coping emotionally. Every participant is keen to continue the work as it has been having a very positive effect on their day to day lives.
Another successful project in this programme is a hugely innovative and successful project, where I worked in partnership with Barnardo’s to deliver a piece of theatre to 140 year 9 young people around Child Sexual Exploitation. This piece of work was preventative and awareness-raising and had a huge impact on the audience in terms of their understanding of problem/dangerous relationships. Lisa Ambrose from Barnados’s Cymru said ” this is the most powerful intervention we have ever used around this subject.”
New projects in the pipeline include a Drama for Relationships project with children and parents at Ogmore Vale Primary school, and a Drama for Emotional Health project at the Pupil Referal Unit in Bridgend.