Offenders art exhibition heralds 100% success

A 100 per cent completion rate was celebrated by Thurrock’s Youth Offending Team at the end of the borough’s first ever Summer Arts College.

All 10 young people, aged between 15 and 17, who signed up to the scheme qualified for the Bronze Art Award which is a key part of the highly regarded project. The colleges have been running nationwide for six years and this year Thurrock secured funding from Unitas to become one of 45 running across the country.

Thurrock Youth Offending Team Manger James Waud said: “This success just shows that given the opportunities and the right support all young people have got the skills to succeed. They are a credit to themselves and also the dedication and hard work of the Youth Offending Team.”

The three-week course provides an intensive learning environment designed to prevent re-offending and support a return to mainstream education. Unitas, is a national charity which works on behalf of the Youth Justice Board. Its projects help young people access, participate and progress in mainstream education and training.

Each of the 10 young people learned about various art forms including multimedia like music and digital photography as well as more traditional approaches. They were then tasked with making their own art work with assessments made not just for the art but numeracy and literacy skills used during the project.

At a special celebration event at Stanford Youth and Connexions on Friday (September 2nd) guests were treated to displays and presentations of completed work. These included music sound tracks and videos, T-shirt printing and films of free-running.

Among the guests impressed by the work was Thurrock Council’s Portfolio Holder for Children’s Social Care and Health, Councillor Barbara Rice who also presented each of the 10 with their certificates.

She said: “This is an amazing project which has produced outstanding work and a wonderful result with 10 young people starting and all 10 successfully completing the course.

“Every single one of them has worked extremely hard putting in additional hours. They have shown commitment and I am really impressed by the talent and the work they have achieved. The Youth Offending Team do a wonderful job and this scheme shows just what can be achieved with the right kind of help and support.”

Further assessments will be taking place with each of the successful 10 achieving Bronze Youth Achievement Awards.

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