My Voice Project – Big Lottery Funded

My Voice is a new SHYPP project, funded by the Big Lottery Fund, working with Toni Cook- freelance director/creative arts practitioner. The idea behind the project is to offer all young people who SHYPP work with an opportunity for a creative outlet for their thoughts, experiences and ideas culminating in a sharing event.

Since September Toni has been working with young people from Ross, Leominster and Hereford foyers in regular weekly arts sessions. Using poetry, writing and drawing the young people have started to express themselves using these artforms. Some young people have written for the first time since school, some have found poetry as an excellent way of expressing their feelings without revealing too much, others who have struggled with literacy have found ways of accessing the project through drawing, photography and film making. Each young person has found their own way of sharing their voice and the results have been breathtaking.

“I have been using the notebook to express my emotions. When I feel angry I am writing in it rather than hitting out”  Project participant

“I like this, I like doing it, I didn’t think I would, but I really like it” Project participant

One young man has used letter writing to express feelings that he was unable to say out loud but has found the courage to write down and share. Others with extreme anxiety have read their work aloud and in front of others. Two have used the project as a way of exploring their feelings about the child they are having together using poems and sketches. Over twenty young people have worked with Toni to find ways of exploring their feelings and experiences.

In December 7 of the young people went to Bristol to see Kate Tempest, spoken word poet, perform at the O2 Academy. It was an incredible experience for them and the staff that took them particularly those overcoming social anxiety and inexperience of large events. The power of live performance, of emotionally charged writing, was the perfect touch paper for lighting the young people’s desire to share their work too.

“She was amazing, I loved it, Can we do ours like that? Can we?” Project participant

On 20 February the young people will share their work at The Courtyard, Hereford. There will be live performance of their writing, visual art work and photography and short films using their writing at its core. Our last performance was a sell out so please join us to support and listen to their work, their ideas and experiences.  Toni Cook, December 2016

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