What we've been up to this month:

 The beginning of September saw the culmination of two summer holiday projects with young carers. In Nottingham, our professional musician worked with young carers to write three songs inspired by Banksy’s mural Balloon Girl. The young people let their imaginations roam free as they created lyrics about the artwork from the perspective of a homeless person, a policeman and an artist. In Redbridge, north-east London, the garden at a carers centre was transformed into a dance studio as young carers learnt new moves with our professional dancer and created their own performance piece. Based on the young people’s own experiences, this tackled the issue of bullying – two-thirds of young carers report experiencing bullying – and explored how difficult situations can be resolved peacefully.

Later in the month, we returned to six hospitals, hospices and respite centres in Oxford and Berkshire to run music and movement workshops with young patients. These special sessions give young patients the chance to have fun and de-stress – something essential in an environment that can be frightening, unsettling or boring. Our artists transport the young patients to magical worlds through interactive creative activities; and their families, carers and hospital staff get the welcome opportunity to interact with the children where the focus is on their imagination rather than their illness. Shazia, whose son Jamil is a patient at Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading, chatted to us about their experience of the Create session:

“My son has been in a hospital due to a virus infection in his face, so his face has been swollen and sore. He has had a temperature of over 40º. We’ve been here for two days but we’re going to find out today how much longer we’ll have to stay for. He gets frustrated when the doctor has to check on him every five minutes especially when they have to check his blood pressure, which he finds scary. He also receives medication through an injection into his vein so that’s not very nice for him either. 

The session today was so fun. We weren’t expecting it. Just before the music started, he had been for a scan so he wasn’t in the best of moods but I could see that he really started enjoying it. Having the arts in hospitals helps people forget about the pain and enables them to enjoy themselves. When you take part in something like this, you can forget about everything. You can just play and have fun. I have been in hospital a few times with my son when he was younger and it wasn’t like this, so it has been really good today. I think when he’s in hospital he misses home and being able to play with his toys.”

Also this month 

  • Check out our new video of the incredible performance at Manchester’s intu Trafford Centre by young people with and without disabilities who took part in a recent Create project! We brought four Manchester and Salford schools together to create original songs, including One Love Manchester, which you’ll hear in this video
  • We interviewed our inspiring filmmaker Aoife Twomey. Read on to find out why she loves using film to tell stories and the memorable message she received from a young carer
  • 28th September was National Poetry Day! One of our favourite poems is this one, written by a young carer in Southwark this summer
  • Our Chief Executive Nicky Goulder blogged about how thrilled we are to have been shortlisted for three Children & Young People Now Awards. We can’t wait for November’s ceremony!