Arts Council announces increased funding for projects to improve youth welfare

Arts Council announces increased funding for projects to improve youth welfare

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland has announced £170,000 funding for youth groups to develop arts-based projects, aimed at improving the health and well-being of young people.

This is made possible thanks to funding for Good Causes from the National Lottery Program ARTiculate, which aims to give a voice to young people through drama, music and participation in the visual arts and literature.

Groups applying for funding support are asked to give a special focus to young people with higher levels of deprivation or exclusion and more vulnerable groups, such as those with a mental health condition, eating disorders, or addiction problems.

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland has announced £170,000 of funding to support groups to develop arts-based projects, aimed at improving the health and well-being of young people. The ARTiculate programme, supported by the National Lottery Funds, will give youth a voice through drama, music, visual arts and literature activities. Fresh Minds Education received a grant through the ARTiculate program in 2018 to develop a series of music workshops for young people living in and around the Rathenraw property in Antrim. Pictured is artist Una McCann, who has worked with local school children to use music to develop confidence and self-expression skills.

The fund is now open for applications with grants of up to £10,000 available to develop art projects intended for children aged 12-18.

Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said: “Thanks to funding from the National Lottery, we are pleased to announce the reopening of the ARTiculate program today. The positive links between engaging in the arts and our health and well-being are well established We believe this program is more important than ever after the pandemic, as young people across Northern Ireland continue to recover from the effects of lockdown and social isolation.

“With this funding, we want to reach some of the most vulnerable children in the community. We are looking for projects that are fun and engaging but also those that enable participants to shape activism and participate as decision makers. This program is about opening opportunities for young people to get involved in the arts and experience the many benefits it brings; enhancing Self-expression and self-confidence development.

The ARTiculate program was first launched in 2017 and has since awarded 46 grants to organizations to develop projects across a range of artistic activities including DJing, graffiti art, ceramics, drama and creative writing.

Fresh Minds Education received a grant through the ARTiculate program in 2018 to develop a series of music workshops for pupils who live in and around the Rathenraw property in Co Antrim.

Led by artist Una McCann, 17 young adults (ages 12-18) worked with children from the local elementary school to elicit the emotions that affect them most, including feeling anger, sadness, worry, anxiety, or frustration. By taking a creative approach, the group was able to explore their feelings and learn the AMBER approach, a structure that supports children to develop coping mechanisms in a safe and comfortable environment. Ultimately, the group worked with a professional studio to record their music.

Ayn Wallace, who developed the project on behalf of Fresh Minds Education said: “We found ARTiculate to be very beneficial for all the children who participated in our project. Over the course of two months we watched their confidence increase. This program gave them the opportunity to use music as a way to talk about their feelings, and to learn how to be brave, And open to failure, yet brave enough to rise again.”

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