STart is a project designed to reach out to young people who feel isolated from the community. It engages them with art, music and social activities to help build their confidence and develop creative skills and talents.
A weekly session takes place on Thursday evenings, running throughout the year at Soft Touch’s Youth Arts Centre. During the sessions young people work on their own creative projects and also get the opportunity to take part in an annual exhibition at Soft Touch which showcases their work.
One of STart’s most successful exhibitions was Bleeding HeART, which was a follow up from their ‘fright nights’. The exhibition allowed young people to dress up as creepy characters and lure people into a dark
location where they received the fright of their life, as well as looking at the amazing artwork that had been made for the exhibitions. The experiences taught the young people leadership skills, as they had to plan the whole event themselves, from working to a budget to the risk assessments. Find out more about The Bleeding HeART Exhibition and A Fright Before Christmas here!
As well as the young people finding the sessions very beneficial, parents and carers also comment on how STart has helped their children in a way that was deeper than just improving their art skills.
Young people can be referred to STart by either emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 0116 255 2592 and asking for Jim.
“I’m so pleased [name] is getting so much out of the STart sessions – he has started to ‘come out of himself’ and regain his confidence after dropping out of college because of anxiety problems. He is also pleased he sold one of his paintings at your business reception event! Soft Touch has been central to me ‘getting the old [name] back’. Thank you.” Parent of participant
“The young people take and make this their own project from the start; deciding what it is they are going to produce then they make all the lead decisions, and look at how they are going to spend their money and do all the routes that adults would normally do like risk assessments, finding a venue, buying materials etc. This makes it the young people’s exhibition, the adults this time are the ones working for us! It’s a chance for young people to develop their skills, advance their future career options and become more employable instead of depending on others. They have to make it happen and this is why it was such a great opportunity, especially for me.” Abby – STart participant
Although this is one of our most successful projects in developing young people’s skills and talents and helps to build resilience and confidence in young people who have struggled in education and life, it is one of the hardest projects for us to find funding for. We are always interested to talk to potential sponsors and funders or individuals who have fundraising ideas.