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Creative Scotland | Eden Court Project

Posted on: Wednesday 16th March 2016

Eden Court works with Action for Children who deliver street football across Inverness and the surrounding area. The service is aimed at engaging young people in positive activities, and providing access to other youth services. The project is a partnership project - the Police identify hotspots where there have been or there is a risk of youth disorder and the team go out and deliver a range of activities. Action for Children deliver street football, with Eden Court delivering music and dance activities. 
Take up of the services can be variable, but when this type of activity works, it can deliver positive outcomes for young people and for communities. Recently, the team provided outreach services in the community of Ardersier, where 50-60 children regularly turned up to participate in street activities.
Due to the overwhelming demand, and the lack of local facilities, Eden Court responded by setting up a 12 week programme of dance and music activities in the local village hall (Outcomes: Young people, who would not normally participate, or who are considered to be vulnerable or at risk of offending, are engaged in high quality arts activities, young people diverted from at-risk behaviours) The development of local activities also provided opportunities for longer term participation young people who are vulnerable and at risk. A young person who is supported by Action For Children (Intensive Support Services) reported that she had referred a young person who she had been supporting to the activities at Arderisier Community Hall. He agreed to go along because he knew the workers (he had participated in a film project with Eden Court - also Cashback funded.) The support worker reported that the inclusive approach of the Eden Court team had enabled the boy, who has very low self-esteem, to participate. He is very vulnerable and lives in challenging circumstances. The boy hopes to continue to attend next year (if the project starts up again).

“His mum said he was made up and it gave him a real boost - he was in a great mood all weekend.” While acknowledging that participation in the activities was a ‘light touch’ intervention, she reported that it was “a positive experience in this young person’s life .”

As funding for the intervention in Ardersier was time limited (12 weeks) Eden Court isnow working with local youth services to attempt to develop some sustainable youth activities in the area. They are in discussions with Highlife Highlands and Youth Services to try to establish some parent led activities for young people in the area. (Outcomes :Vibrant communities, Development of new activities and encourage /support volunteers from the community)
Outcome: Creating high quality experiences for the hardest to reach young people and breaking down barriers to participation.

Make Good HeART
This group has been developed in partnership with the Additional Support Needs Officer at Highland Council. It provides access to arts activities for a small group of 4 girls who have complex needs.

The girls are excluded from mainstream school due to their high level of needs, and are socially excluded. The level of needs means that the group has to be small, and the programme is very bespoke to respond to individual need.
Initially the girls attended with their parents and support workers as each of them has difficulty engaging with new people. Although progress has been slow – it was important to give the individual time to feel safe at the classes – the group and the individuals have made significant progress.

The initial proposal was that Eden Court would provide some dance/movement classes and film classes, but the programme has been adapted over time to meet the needs and interests of the individuals. From the initial session with four individuals who had to be accompanied by parents/support workers, it is now a group that goes out on trips (visiting museums and galleries to collect content for a film project) and attending performances at Eden Court.

Critical outcomes for the young people have been the development of relationships (the girls now see each other outside the group and for the first time have ‘friends’). They have grown in confidence and independence (they can come to the classes without parents/support workers and can go out on trips to museums and galleries.)

A parent of one of the participants wrote ‘I'd like to take the opportunity to convey my sincere thanks to all those involved
in this wonderful activity - my daughter has round the clock complex needs and finds social situations unbearable, yet, during and after this group she 'comes to life' she is engaged, motivated and most of all supported, it has a dramatic impact
on sleep, mood, mental and physical wellbeing - all for the better! The group allows her to feel of worth and has allowed her to make 2 very positive and ongoing friendships which have grown beyond the activity and provide my daughter with a peer group that previously she never had.’

P's Story | Eden Court
P first started attending Eden court film-making classes through the Bridge. The Bridge is an educational support centre which works with young people who are not in mainstream schools. All of the young people are on modified timetables – some attending for only a couple of hours a week.

Eden Court has worked with the Bridge to provide a digital media activities for selected young people. P attended Digital Media classes as a pupil of the Bridge over a period of two years, and although it was not always evident to staff what he was achieving, P sustained his engagement and was a regular attender.

When the classes through the Bridge finished, P had gained sufficient confidence and to attend the mainstream classes at Eden Court (a teenagers film–making club). Again, it was not always evidence to staff what he got out of the club, but he sustained his involvement, regularly turning up early for the club sessions and ‘hanging out’ with the staff. It became obvious that he felt safe and accepted by the Eden Court team.

When P left education, he struggled to find work, but was engaging with employability services. He had an activity agreement, and as part of his agreement he asked for work experience with Eden Court. The team has been able to provide him with work experience, and he has recently secured a job at McDonalds.

However, P is continuing to engage with Eden Court and has recently asked to volunteer with the younger class, as he has recognised that he enjoys working with young people and is considering youth work as a future career option.

SACRO’s Moray Young Persons’ Supported Accommodation is in Elgin.

The project provides supported accommodation and advice and support to vulnerable young homeless people between the ages of 16 and 24. SACRO approached Eden Court to provide film and music workshops for the young people to help to engage them in a positive activity which would build their confidence, self-esteem and motivation.

Sessions ran over a period of 6 weeks. During the sessions, one young women, C, was particularly enthusiastic, and the Eden Court staff suggested that she get involved in some further arts activities. The young woman expressed an interest in Musical Theatre, but could not afford to pay for mainstream classes.

Eden Court has enabled C to attend the mainstream Musical Theatre classes (through Cashback funding) which lead to London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art Qualifications. As a result of attending, C has developed her skills, confidence and motivation. She now hopes to go to college to study Drama. In the meantime she is developing her skills through volunteering – she now volunteers at Eden Court as a support worker at the children’s Musical Theatre Classes.


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