Three-Year Youth Programme Launched to Tackle Anti-Social Behaviour

Two companies have been awarded £410,000 by the Scottish Government programme CashBack for Communities for a brand-new arts project going under the name of CashBack for Change. The companies involved are YDance (Scottish Youth Dance) the award-winning national dance organisation for children and young people in Scotland,  and award-winning Glasgow based theatre company, Glass Performance

CashBack for Communities is a unique Scottish Government programme which takes money seized from criminals under the proceeds of crime legislation and invests them in the  future of young people with  £110 million  committed to community initiatives since 2008. 

Starting late September 2020 and running until March 2023, the CashBack for Change project aims to use dance and theatre as a tool to engage and positively influence young people aged 10 -21 who are most at risk of displaying anti-social behaviours or entering the criminal justice system. The project will target young people living in areas of high deprivation and crime, those not engaging in mainstream education and in alternative education centres and those already in the criminal justice system at HMP and YOI Polmont.

Head of Offender Outcomes at HMP YOI Polmont, George Ferguson said, “We are really delighted with this investment into our Performing Arts Space. This funding will enable us to continue and develop the good work we have already been delivering with our partners within the space. I am continuously amazed at the what the arts contribute to our learning environment and working in partnership with Barnardo’s, YDance and Glass Performance will enable us to increase the opportunities we offer to young people within HMP and YOI Polmont.”

Through the provision of free, weekly dance and drama sessions, the young people will have the opportunity to build their confidence and resilience whilst developing core skills such as communication, teamworking and commitment. Sessions will also encourage the participants to express themselves in a safe and supportive environment that will nurture their ideas and creativity whilst improving their overall health and wellbeing. Each year a celebratory performance event will be held to bring together the groups from the different local authorities to recognise and celebrate their achievements.

Co-Artistic Director of Glass Performance, Jess Thorpe said, “We are delighted to be partnering with YDance to deliver a dynamic performing arts programme in HMP and YOI Polmont for the next three years. We are passionate about developing creative opportunities for young people in custody and using the arts to support them to explore new skills and work towards a positive and confident future. Working with YDance helps us to be part of a strong and connected arts sector and have a positive and long-lasting impact on the lives of those that take part in this programme.”

CashBack for Change will also include a programme of qualification opportunities for the young people including the SQA Personal Achievement Bronze Award, Arts Award, Sports Leaders Award in Dance Leadership and the Dynamic Youth Achievement Award.

The project is run by YDance (Scottish Youth Dance) and Glass Performance in partnership with HMP and YOI Polmont, Scottish Prison Service and Barnardo’s Scotland with activity taking place in Falkirk, Renfrewshire, Angus, North and East Ayrshire, Dundee, Stirling and East Dunbartonshire.

Irene Brown

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