“Now I can speak confidently – I’ll take that back with me.”

After a summer that shone with creativity and good news, we were overjoyed to start September with lots more celebrating! Storybooks created by young fathers in prisons, as part of our Inside Stories project, were recognised with an amazing 22 Koestler Awards. These prestigious accolades recognise outstanding artwork by offenders, detainees and secure patients. Every year, we take professional writers, artists and musicians into prisons, enabling young fathers to create storybooks and record CDs with their own music and personalised messages for the children waiting for them at home. They develop social skills and confidence and their children receive a unique gift from their father, keeping the bond between father and child alive.

One of the fathers told Create about his increased levels of self-belief and how the workshops have given him something to work towards: “I think my family feel proud of me for doing this. I’ve shown my partner, children and parents that I am thinking about them, being productive with my time, becoming a good man.”

Check out this award-winning collage, created during Inside Stories.

Over in Nottingham, we collaborated with young carers on a confidence-boosting spoken word poetry project. Poetry can be a visceral and powerful way of expressing emotions, which young carers can find difficult to articulate, especially when many lack the confidence in their day to day lives. Our professional writers Simon Mole and Cecelia Knapp supported the young carers as they played icebreakers, shared ideas, and collaborated to create one epic poem.

On the final day, they performed their poems to a captivated audience of friends and family.

Check out their poem, “We are Not Normal”, a stream-of-consciousness piece made up of individual thoughts and combined to create one many-voiced poem. Shifting tones from poignant to funny and sublime to ridiculous, you get a real sense of the closeness between the young carers. One told us, “Now I can speak confidently – I’ll take that back with me.”

 

Here is an excerpt:

We are not normal
We are your unmet expectations
We are professional procrastinators
We are unique.
We are Potential. Sprawling. Endless.
Infinite.

We are dancing acrobatically, singing loudly and
using the walls and floor to push ourselves.

We are sun roofs rolled to
one side, songs shouted
from our lungs.

We are badgers that can breakdance.

                              We are scared and sad

                                Within ourselves.

We are the world spinning in eternal

                                                         Sadness

                We are wanting to remember the dead.

We are projects that we make happen.

We are the whirring fan by your hotel bed.

We are sleep deprived and waiting to lie down,

Forcing ourselves to stay awake.

We are cockroaches, hungry for eye crust.

                                                Spiders crawling into wide open spaces.

We are never going to sleep again.

We are a little girl saying I missed you mummy.

                We are everything

We are unity. We are us.

 

This September we were also proud to introduce the brand new Poblano cocktail from cocktail bar Three Six Six. Inventive, visually arresting and completely original, £1 from each cocktail sold will support our life-changing work with disadvantaged and vulnerable people across the UK. 
The cocktail uses Koko Kanu rum, Tarragon infused rhubarb liquor, Ancho Reyes, Ancho Syrup, Lime juice, Cardamome bitters and Sumac powder. Head down to one of the Three Six Six bars in Battersea and Earlsfield to try it for yourself!

To find out about more of our projects with disadvantaged and vulnerable children and adults visit our blog.