Bretch Hill youngsters to be given a voice for change
Published by rtownsend for Sanctuary Housing Association in Communities and also in Education, Housing
Youngsters from Bretch Hill in Cherwell are being given the chance to make a difference in their neighbourhood by taking part in local youth-led community action projects.
Sanctuary Housing has provided £23,000 funding to the Oxfordshire Youth Arts Partnership (OYAP) for the group to bring together young people from the community to develop arts, cultural events and local projects.
Supported by Cherwell District Council’s Brighter Futures in Banbury initiative, the programme will take place at The Hill Centre and will see OYAP providing mentoring and support for the young people in the development of their plans.
The youngsters’ initial project plans include transforming the public space around The Hill Centre and putting on community food festivals, gigs and music events for young people from the area.
The start of the project in Bretch Hill follows on from OYAP’s similar programme with youngsters in Bicester.
Known locally as the Youth of Bicester action group (YOBs), the youngsters, with the support of OYAP, have carried out a range of successful projects in their local community including transforming empty shops into pop-up recording studios and art galleries, hosting art exhibitions and running their own community radio station.
OYAP Trust’s director Helen le Brocq, said: “Our mission is to help young people reach their potential whilst creating a brighter future for the communities in which they live, so we are delighted Sanctuary Housing is supporting us with this project. We help young people to get their voices heard, to become involved in the projects, to meet new people and to make a difference. Young people want the opportunity to challenge perceptions, make people smile and demonstrate what they can offer the community. Their ideas are always inspiring and it is a joy to support the young people and see their ideas become a reality.”
Harjinder Lota, Sanctuary Housing’s head of local partnerships, added: “We are thrilled to be a part of this creative project. It is a fantastic opportunity for youngsters in Bretch Hill to really get stuck into an activity that they have a say in and that is important to them. We are always looking at ways to improve the lives of people in our communities and thanks to this partnership the youngsters who live and work there can do just that.”
Cherwell District Council’s lead member for Banbury Brighter Futures, Councillor John Donaldson, said: “I think it’s a great idea to develop the skills and talents of young people in the Bretch Hill area. Not only does this kind of work build a sense of community and encourage people to take a pride in the area they live, it also strengthens the relationships between the generations. Supporting young people to make a difference in their community is a key objective of the Brighter Futures programme.”
Sanctuary Housing’s funding for the initiative has come through the Group’s Cherish Cherwell Fund which offers grants in support of activities and projects that will make a real difference to the lives of people across the district.
OYAP works with young people to create a brighter future for the community. Working in partnership with artists, community groups and local authorities, they use the arts to create opportunities for young people to reach their potential.
OYAP has worked with over 5,000 young people since 2005, specialising in the harder to reach groups. They aim to create opportunities through the arts so that disaffected young people can contribute, and get involved with the communities that they live and work in.