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Participation & Empowerment Through The Arts
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The Client
NCH meets the needs of children and young people who most need support to achieve their full potential. Through their work and through speaking out, they seek to break the cycle of deprivation. NCH challenge injustice and empower children to overcome the obstacles in their lives that hold them back. NCH tailor their work to local circumstances, in partnership with children and young people, families, communities and local organisations.

The Challenge
NCH want to involve service users, in a meaningful way, in reflecting on and commenting about the services they receive and to find ways of enabling young people to participate equally, at the conferences and meetings of key professionals, whose decisions affect their daily lives.

The Method
Now in its’ ninth year, ARTiculation continues to use youth arts techniques to enable some of the country’s most marginalized young people to have a voice.

ARTiculation comprises: the national youth arts weekend, devising and rehearsal processes, performances at key events and peer mentoring opportunities.

Articulation is open to any NCH service user aged over 16.

“ARTiculation offers a unique and innovative opportunity for young people to express themselves. Through this process young people are able to say what they think and have their voices heard about issues that concern them. They also experience new and exciting opportunities which enhance their self confidence and encourage their understanding of the policies, services, and resources that impact on young people’s lives.”
Mark Benson, NCH Participation Development Manager

“Although initially sceptical about the use of arts, my experience of ARTiculation has completely transformed my view. I have had the pleasure of witnessing first hand how young people have been able to engage and respond positively and express themselves in a way that would have been very difficult under normal circumstances.”
Sally Robinson, Project worker, NCH’s Lincolnshire Leaving Care Service

"ARTiculation has really offered me a lifeline. Before I went to ARTiculation my life was pretty hectic – no direction, no aims, no ambitions. It made me realise that I had a lot more self worth than I thought I had. After the first youth arts weekend I went into rehab cos I wanted to change. I saw at a light at the end of the tunnel. I don’t get so anxious anymore. I honestly don’t know where I’d be without ARTiculation."
Shaun, 22, ARTiculation participant

“The voice I had gave me a feeling of power. Just for those few moments on stage I felt important, like I was a part of the conference for once and not a victim of it”
Dee, ARTiculation participant.

As a result of the programme, young people have performed at a number of high profile venues and events including:

· Lord Chancellor’s Suite, House of Lords
· All Party Parliamentary Groups, House of Commons
· Launches of “The Children’s Fund”, “Every Child Matters”, National Strategic Framework for Health and Maternity Services, Safely on the Streets.
· Association of London Government annual conference
· National Association of Local Government Officers annual conference
· Social Care Institute of Excellence annual conference

“I’ve seen other presentations by young people at similar conferences and have sometimes found them patronising. This though, was witty, humorous and thought provoking….”

“A superb performance, very perceptive."

“ the medium – of theatre, with actual young people’s voices, made it shockingly powerful”

For further information contact HQ Arts, or Tracey Owen (NCH Arts Initiatives Manager, NCH, 85 Highbury Park, London, N5 1UD, 020 7704 7000).
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