Last year, East Brighton Trust supported the Whitehawk Summer Madness group to put on a Whitehawk’s Got Talent event at the Manor Road Gym. Free to attend and very much an intergenerational event, older members of the community mixed with the younger ones and all attendees were encouraged to take part in a range of activities.
Through links with other local groups, the event took place as part of the “Your Place” series for the Brighton Festival. Organiser Miguel Tello told us “By joining the larger festival we were able to attract many more participants to our part of the event and promote exit routes such as local clubs and activities on offer to people from the community.”
With a decidedly competitive element to the goings-on, categories for local people to compete in included singing, dancing, cookery and art, plus ball sports such as football, wheelchair basketball and boccia. Winners in all competitions were recognised with medals and prizes.
In terms of the sports, training in ball games and basketball was given in the 10 weeks prior to the event thanks to a group of volunteers. Participants learned numerous tricks and improved their agility, coordination, physical endurance, strength and physical health in general. Miguel said “These young participants fit within a group of kids that typically do not take part in exercise or in other sporty group activities. The benefits to these young people therefore extend to experiencing a social sporty, fun and challenging environment. They were able to learn the values of being in a team, make new friends, become an active part of their community and see progress in their skill.”
At the official Whitehawk’s Got Talent event, those who had been taking part in the training sessions were able to demonstrate their new skills to their family and friends then encourage others to get involved too. The event also offered an opportunity to signpost people towards regular local groups and activities in the community to build on the enthusiasm of the day and to encourage them to stay involved in an active lifestyle.
At the start of 2017, the Sapling Woodchips received funding through our small grants scheme. Sapling Woodchips is an activities group for young children aged 6 and under and their families. It is facilitated by a group of local mums on a voluntary basis. The group members are all residents of Saunders Park, Moulsecoomb and Bevendean. The group meets weekly throughout the year and operates in these three areas on a rotational basis - at the Moulsecoomb Forest Garden, The Bevy Community pub and in Saunders Park.
The Group focuses on inclusive and participatory activities and events for young children incorporating learning age appropriate new skills such as gardening, numeracy and literacy. This is achieved through singing sessions, outings to forest gardens, and mutual cooperation through play, teamwork and storytelling.
Along with the regular sessions, the group used some of the funding to attend an annual district low-cost Woodcraft camp in Sussex in August 2017. This was aimed specifically at similar groups in the district with a view to encouraging more integration for families and young children in line with Woodcraft Folk ideals.
Saplings Woodchips organiser Nicola Benge told us “This grant has really made all the difference to our group. We have been able to buy craft materials for our weekly sessions, provide healthy snacks and subsidise people to come on camp. For this camp, we were also able to support practical purchases for the project including; Arts and crafts material, cooking equipment and ingredients and camping equipment for the group. The funds were also used for our weekly group sessions in particular; venue hire, healthy snacks, materials for the sessions, as well as small subsidies for the costs of enabling young people and families to attend the regular activities and sessions so that all could attend regardless of their financial means".
She elaborated on how the grant has impacted local families “We encouraged young people whose parent(s)/carers are dependent on benefits to apply for a bursary from us to help support their attendance to attend the summer camp. There were others too in low income families who needed a degree of subsidy, including especially where there was more than one young person from the same family seeking to attend. This therefore meant that we were able to engage newer members, families with multiple children, and one parent families to attend when they wouldn’t otherwise have been able to do so”.
Some of the participants also fed back on how they had enjoyed the sessions:
“We both love Woodchips. We learn great crafts and cooperative games. We look forward to Mondays”.
“Thank you so much for helping us come to Woodcraft camp. It’s our first one and as a single parent, I wouldn’t have been able to attend without the support of the group and the grant from East Brighton Trust”.
“My daughter loves Woodchips, she’s made a lovely group of friends and is learning co-operation and social issues in a friendly, gentle way”.
‘We love Woodchips as it’s a friendly community with fun varied activities and lots of time in nature’.
‘I was new to the area and didn’t know many people, so this group has been a great way to meet other like-minded families and feel supported’.
The group hopes to expand to support later age groups too in the near future, to help provide activities in the East Brighton area for more young children and a wider section of the local community on an ongoing basis.
“Our group in East Brighton has grown in number as we’ve been able to make the regular sessions accessible and open to local residents, we now have ten families (sometimes more) from the area regularly coming up from three families in 2015.We’re really pleased with this increase and the regular engagement as a result. 8 children and 7 adults attended the summer camp in Sussex in August from East Brighton of which 5 children and 3 adults were subsidised.
For some of the participants it has been a vital support for activities with children in an area where there isn’t a great deal of other low cost groups to attend. It has made us realise that we would like to continue running the group and to definitely look at finding a way to set up a new Elfins group for the children when they get to six years old, as there currently isn’t one in the area.”
Little Green Pig is a creative writing and mentoring charity which focuses on engaging 7-18 year olds from disadvantaged backgrounds on a programme of free projects.
In Spring 2017 they received funding from East Brighton Trust to support a creative writing project for children from Moulsecoomb Primary School. They held two workshops which took place in November and December at the Moulsecoomb Forest Garden, an important and inspiring outdoor space which is led by adults with learning difficulties.
Little Green Pig say of their work “We believe that everyone, whatever their background, has a right to write and needs a gym for their imagination. Our main objective is to give opportunities to the young people in the community who need them most including those from disadvantaged backgrounds or living in areas of high deprivation.”
Over the last year, Little Green Pig has worked with over 800 children and teenagers on projects ranging from devising a crime drama to writing a travel guide to Brighton and Hove. They work hard to develop relationships with schools, families, organisations and individuals in their target areas and currently have over 50 trained volunteers who support their workshops.
During the two 2-hour workshops at the Forest Garden, 26 Year 4 pupils from Moulsecoomb Primary School had a chance to explore their environment and create original poetry inspired by the Garden. The aim was to encourage teamwork, free expression and creativity whilst helping to improve the children’s confidence and self-esteem.
Each workshop was supported by four fully-trained Little Green Pig Story Mentors (volunteers), in addition to the class teacher and teaching assistant, and was led by experienced workshop leader Adam Webb.
Workshop One involved engaging with different activities including games, free-writing and garden exploration to inspire and generate ideas for their final poem. Then during the second workshop participants consolidated their original work, learned about motifs in fiction/ poetry and then used garden motifs to create original poetry. All 26 children shared their work with the group.
Little Green Pig told us “This type of work empowers participants, giving them a voice and encouraging them to try new things. It also fosters a sense of community in the group as they share their creative work in a very positive way and offer generous feedback to one another. Being in the garden encouraged participants to pause and absorb their environment, and encouraged them to think about creative writing as a response to sensory experiences. The children were encouraged by our volunteers to develop their interest in it without the pressures that they may face in the classroom if writing is normally a challenge for them.”
The group are hoping to display or project the poetry in Moulsecoomb Primary School which will allow it to reach new audiences and enable the whole school community to benefit from the project.
Little Green Pig will continue to take their writing projects into a variety of spaces across the city and beyond and we look forward to hearing about their progress.
In our Spring/ Summer 2017 small grants round, East Brighton Trust awarded £500 to RAW, a weekly youth club for young people living in Moulsecoomb. The club is held at St George’s Hall in North Moulsecoomb and gives young people a safe place to socialise on a regular basis.
The funding went towards refreshments for the weekly meetings and to pay for two special outings which the young people would otherwise not be able to afford - one in the summer to ‘Go Ape’ and one in the winter to The Royal Pavilion Ice Skating Rink. In their feedback to us, the organisers of the RAW youth club said “Both of these events were highlights in the Youth Club Calendar, which the youth looked very much forward to and appreciated. We have learned that social cohesion and a range of experiences are key in maintaining healthy relationships between youth. The youth appreciate having regular consistency of a meeting place and caring leaders who are committed to their welfare and development”.
The Brighton & Hove Oromo Community is a small group of Oromo refugees, originally from Ethiopia, many of whom now live in East Brighton.
They were awarded a £500 small grant from East Brighton Trust in January 2017 to run a health project for the women in the community. The funding went towards 3 elements: 10 swimming classes, 10 Shape-Up classes (beginner level aerobics) & a day trip to Thorpe Park.
The community got in touch to tell us about how they spent the funding: “Because of the swimming and shape-up sessions, 16 adult and young women feel happier, less alone, less stuck at home, and spent more time with friends and family, and some also experienced physical improvement from doing some healthy activities.
"Having women-only swimming and exercise classes was really important for us because it gave us a chance to meet in a space where we can be together, just the Oromo women, and socialise, bond with our daughters, as well as do something healthy. We don’t have many opportunities to go out, and cannot afford leisure activities so these regular activities are really important for us.”
And talking about their trip to Thorpe Park: “A total of 45 Oromo people (including 15 women and 20 children) were able to enjoy a day out for the first time in a year.
"Our trip to Thorpe Park was the only holiday that our members were able to have in the year. As a result of the trip, 15 women and 20 children felt happier, felt closer to their families and community, and felt less isolated. It was amazing for us, particularly women and children, to have the opportunity to have a little day trip, and have some fun and spend some time together outside of our usual routines, and to simply get out and get a change of scenery.
"The women in our community don’t have many opportunities for leisure activities, because we are the main carers of our children but also because we can’t afford it. We just don’t get to have holidays and go away like some other people can. We were able to have a break, and relax, and to get out, and see something different outside of Brighton. It also really helped to improve our family relationships to have time together in a fun and relaxed environment.
"We are very happy that East Brighton Trust gave us some funding. We would not be able to run some of our activities for our community without this funding.”
The Good News Centre in Moulsecoomb applied for a grant from East Brighton Trust in January 2017 to pay for electrical work to enable their Men in Sheds project to take place. The Good News Shed is a community space for men to connect, chat and make things together. The activities undertaken are similar to those which typically take place in garden sheds and the communal setting helps reduce loneliness and isolation as well as being fun.
The money went towards paying an electrician to put in extra power points for power tools and to purchase a Silverstone 750W dust extractor. The power tools used in the woodwork of Good News Shed create a lot of sawdust, which it was necessary to extract. The extraction of the sawdust means that the working area now remains relatively dust free, which not only allows for a cleaner work space, but also promotes the health and wellbeing of those using the building.
The sheds project provides huge benefits to participants, enabling them to improve their confidence, feel part of a community and to feel empowered by sharing skills with others.
Project Organiser Neil Hilton told us “Many of the people who attend the Good News Shed are elderly, and have experienced loneliness and isolation. Attending this project twice a week has become a highlight for them. They have learnt new skills, or awakened dormant skills, they feel a sense of personal achievement, and a sense of community with their fellow attendees.”
The local community has also benefited from the work of the men in the Good News Shed. They have been involved in the following projects:
* repairing local park benches that have been vandalised
* making a shed for the local adult learning centre's garden project
* making access ramps for individuals in the community
* making flower pots for a sensory garden for members of a dementia group at the Bevy community pub
Safety net is an organisation working to keep children and young people safe from harm and abuse. They work with children, families, schools and neighbourhoods, delivering programmes of training, advice and guidance for adults and young people. In early 2017 they approached us via our small grants scheme for funding for a particular programme of resilience training for targeted pupils. These were all young people living in Whitehawk and attending Longhill school.
The training affected 46 pupils and covered 3 specific areas:
1) 1: 1 resilience support for vulnerable children aged 11 – 15 via the Safety Net Assertiveness programme (SNAP).
2) Small group workshops covering online safety, friendships, personal safety & body image.
3) Parents’ resource pack on online safety including a top tip sheet.
Other related activities included year 7 pupils working with Safety Net to write and deliver an assembly to both City Academy Whitehawk and Saltdean Primary school – two of the feeder schools for Longhill. The pupils spoke to 120 pupils in each school.
(Year 7 pupils from Longhill High School after delivering their online safety assembly at Saltdean Primary School.)
When asked to give feedback on the programme, 100% of pupils stated that “they had learnt something and that they would recommend this project to others.” One pupil even said “I loved doing this project and want to do it again” and another said “By being part of the online safety project I have improved my confidence.” And in addition to this great feedback, one staff member at Longhill school said to Safety Net “I would like to say a huge thank you for all your hard work with these pupils. They have thoroughly enjoyed the experience and it is a memory that they will never forget.”
A number of pupils taking part in the programme have since been referred to other relevant services, such as Miss Represented, a local arts project for young women, as well as Safety Net’s own school holiday activities programmes.
Please visit the Safety Net website for further information on the work they deliver or follow them on facebook and twitter for updates.
In May 2017 Strike a Light applied through our small grants scheme to run a series of workshops in East Brighton as a part of their series - Remembering Together - Life History for the community.
Strike a Light is a community arts and heritage organisation which engages people in creative and heritage activities - many around exploring memories.
With the help of our funding, they delivered a series of 18 workshops over the course of 7 months at three locations in East Brighton - Moulescoomb Library, The Bevy pub, and with East Brighton Bygones in the Whitehawk area. These were aimed at encouraging local residents to engage with their memories, record experiences and celebrate local lives to create life history books to keep and share into the future. As well as encouraging intergenerational integration, the workshops aimed to help develop a sense of local cohesion.
Though the groups were open to any local residents, they were particularly promoted to two specific groups. The first was people experiencing early onset dementia, as a way to help support their life changes and memory loss in a positive and grounding way. And the second group was those adopted, fostered or in care. Life history work was in fact originally developed for engagement and support of looked after people, to nurture a positive sense of belonging and identity. The Strike a Light workshop groups provided a means of support to young people from these backgrounds, who may have experienced feelings of isolation and marginalisation in their lives – giving them a chance to discuss their own experiences with other participants.
During the guided sessions, participants and carers received resources and reminiscence training, as well as materials to make their books - including old photographs, photocopies, maps, collage and text.
Each group also had the chance to visit The Keep – a Moulsecoomb based archive and historical resource centre. This gave participants the chance to explore their family history using Ancestry software and national archives.
The books created are something that participants can treasure themselves and share with other people, as well as being used by carers and family members to learn more about the person they are providing care for.
Creative Director Nicola Benge sent us some photos of the sessions at The Bevy in action and told us: “During our sessions with groups of older people we have laughed and cried whilst making creative and personal books about participants’ memories that they can take home and share. It’s an honour and a privilege to engage with groups from East Brighton to share their life stories.”