There is anecdotal evidence to demonstrate that when young adults with learning difficulties leave education, the social links and connections that they have built up often drop off. Young people can find that a lot of adult services are geared towards the older age group, which leaves a gap.
Bransholme Community Arts Enterprise (BCAE) received funding to look at the support available for young people when they hit 19 and finish college, and how they could change what’s currently available.
This is where the Creative Club comes in.
BCAE teamed up with Hull City Council’s Arts Development, Ganton School and Hull 2017 to offer a Saturday morning art club for young adults (aged 16+) with learning disabilities. It’s an opportunity to experiment with creative art techniques in a relaxed, social setting.
Now in its second term, the club runs in blocks of 10 sessions, with the next one starting this week (Saturday 13 May). Open to people who want to socialise and have an interest in doing art, the club is flexible for any young adults with learning disabilities to try, there’s no commitment.
The club is supported and assisted by Hull 2017 volunteers who are as involved with the young people’s art as the young people want them to be. Many of the volunteers so far have been able to offer a skills swap too, for example one of the volunteers was kind enough to bring in their harp to play, this helped give the young artists some inspiration for their drawings.
In sessions so far, participants have looked at printing, batik, drawing and photography. They have visited the Ferens Art Gallery and have met artists from Artlink. Each week the club looks at a different art form and takes suggestions on what the young adults involved might want to try next. This has resulted in them looking at clay, modroc and Gaudi in the coming weeks. After exhibiting their recent work in the library space at Hull College, the young adults are excited to return to the club, hopefully welcoming some newcomers too.
“We’ve seen an increase in the participants’ confidence, they’ve all developed socially and made friendships with each other and the volunteers. One young woman who is part of the club loves writing and she brought a poem in for us to read. One of the volunteers was part of Women of Words (an open mic, spoken word event) and she invited her to one of their evenings to read the poem. That’s why it’s important that there’s something outside of the young people’s usual provisions to make additional connections and links.”
“Our aim is to develop people’s skills and progress and broaden their horizons for independence.”
– Frances Kelly, BCAE.
The club is run at Hull College, and the young people have a large art room to work in, making it different to a typical youth club. BCAE’s long-term aspiration for Creative Club is for it to become self-sufficient – although it will always be self-selecting and supported by services, they hope that as the young people grow older, they will take ownership of the group and develop its arts activities further.
If you or a young person with learning disabilities that you know would like to join the Creative Club, sessions start weekly from Saturday 13 May, 10am-noon. To book, please contact Frances or Chris on email@example.com or call 01482 821053.