When the odds were stacked against us, TBH rose to the challenge and made a positive impact on young people who went through our programmes. We ensured that our young people were resilient to this unprecedented change in society and inspired the arts industry to deliver work in a new way. Our ability to raise awareness of the plight of care leavers in the pandemic and to deliver an innovative theatre production which received critical acclaim has been massively rewarding.
Since Covid-19, there has been a radical shift in young people’s ability to access support through leaving care teams, social workers or mental health services. This compounded their experience of the crisis and the challenges they already face. Lockdown was a deadly risk: calls to The Big House from frightened female members saw a significant increase. We stepped in to liaise on our young peoples’ behalf on a range of issues. We also:
- Consulted our young people (via Zoom) on new ways of delivering support - their ideas translated into digital workshops around employment, housing, finance (e.g. applying for Universal Credit, accessing food banks), and challenging domestic issues
- Bought bikes so they could travel safely when lockdown was lifted
- Delivered counselling sessions virtually
- Online weekly ‘drop-ins’ featured debate and improvisation
- Launched writing and directing programmes to upskill young people wanting to enter the creative industry
- Delivered a film project to keep young people engaged during lockdown. The script was written by one of our young people. They experienced the film-making process from the genesis of the idea, through production planning, rehearsals, the shoot and post production. They worked alongside top creatives from Peaky Blinders and our Patron Ed Skrein. The short film explored issues on how young people are groomed into becoming gang members.
- Delivered an innovative theatre production, The Ballad of Corona V - a unique theatrical experience for groups of six audience members at a time. It is a tale of fake news and true stories; a free-wheeling, angry, moving and musical response to the pandemic, told through the unique prism of TBH
- We entertained and trained 500 social workers over Zoom, on issues around county lines drug dealing.
It hasn’t been easy! But we are seeking out ways to survive and adapt. We would love to deliver more innovative work and reach more young people leaving care. With your help, we can.