Local Youngsters Get "Fresh" Chance

Wimbledon arts project will offer skills and experience

The Wimbledon Civic Theatre Trust is offering local young people the chance to take part in an innovative arts project which will help them develop skills and experience to find full-time training and employment.

It has partnered with the London Borough of Merton, Merton Chamber of Commerce and South Thames College to launch its innovative arts project, "FRESH" which will offer places to 12 young locals, aged between 16 – 21 years old.

It is estimated that more than 1.2 million people, aged between 16 – 24 are not in employment, education or training (NEET), with 197 people classed as NEET in Merton, according to recent figures.

The selected NEET group will start work on February 5 and will be required to participate in up to 50 hours of participation over the 12 weeks.

Based on their engagement with the project, each candidate will be entered for an externally moderated Bronze and Silver Arts Award accreditation and a Certificate in Performing Arts.

The FRESH project will also offer the group creative coaching, mentoring and training opportunities provided through South Thames College and provide opportunities to develop personal career plans and CV writing and job interview skills in order to allow them to complete the project with brighter prospects.

Working with experienced, trained facilitators, the group will also deliver a short interactive programme of theatre-based peer-to-peer workshops to local teenagers. Thus, 150 local young students will be involved in five one hour interactive performance/workshops at the end of the project, led by the group of 12 NEET candidates themselves. The theme of these interactive sessions will be chosen by the NEET young people, explore a topic which affects young people.

Andy Alty, Creative Learning Projects Manager for WCTT said: "We are very thrilled to be able to give local young people the opportunity to get their futures on track and moving in a positive direction. In January 2012, 162 young people aged between 16 and 19 in Merton were classed as NEET and the most recent figures show that this figure has now risen to 197, proving that the problem is rapidly getting worse. Maintaining the hopes and aspirations of young people is key to the stability of our society. We hope the FRESH project will give the selected group a chance to try something different and open their eyes to other opportunities."

The FRESH project has been developed in close collaboration with Merton Youth Inclusion Team. Joyce Harvie, Youth Support Service Commissioning Manager said: "Having met with WCTT support staff and discussed the FRESH proposal in detail, I am confident that the project will become an important part of our NEET’s strategy. I am looking forward to the new opportunities that the WCTT can bring Merton’s young people and how they can assist us in reducing our NEET figures. I am keen to support this project and would like to see it become a permanent part of our future plans within LB Merton."

If you are unemployed and under 21 years old, with an interest in drama and would like to join the FRESH project, please contact on 0208 545 7909 or at andrewalty@theambassadors.com.

January 21, 2013