18 Feb 2019 / Groups
Start360’s Switch onto Employment programme is designed to meet the literacy and numeracy needs of disadvantaged young people who face learning barriers, helping them to move into further training, education or employment.
Since 2012 over 80 young people from Belfast, aged 16-24, have participated an Arvon residential week enabling them to step out of their environment and explore creative expression in a supportive context. Following the course, the group meet with the tutors for additional workshops in Belfast and to continue developing their writing. The follow-up workshops provide an opportunity for participants to edit poems created on the residential week for publication in a group anthology.
By the end of the week over 90% reported improvements in their creativity and imagination, and use of English and grammar.
“It made a lot of difference to me. It’s made me come out of my shell more and do a lot of writing that I didn’t know I can do.” –Participant
“I always feel at home here, we have been accepted into the Arvon family and love it here. The environment that is created here is amazing, the young people feel safe and create their own wee family. The sense of belonging is so important and the feeling they develop about themselves and others can be carried home and built upon”’ – Group leader
“The Arvon experience is the one time where I can see the impact literature has on young people. It gives the young people the opportunity to express their feelings in a safe, creative and non – judgemental place.” –Group leader
For one participant on the Start360 week, a profound re-writing of their personal narrative and re-shaping of future narratives took place:
“Before this week I was taking 50 codeine a day. Last couple of days I only had six. I’ve broken my heart crying this week. If I keep going that way I’ll be dead by the time I’m 25. I can’t do that. I sat this morning in the sitting room and wrote my story.”
This participant was interviewed again three months after the residential course. She had continued to avoid all codeine use. She was continuing to write every day ‘because (her tutor) said it would be a good idea’ and it is ‘changing my attitude to life.’
To find out about bringing a group to Arvon email firstname.lastname@example.org
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