I was delighted when Jackie Hooper (CEO) approved my idea for these workshops. Like many of the Poet Laureate Projects it has taken time to set up and reach the point of delivery.
The work The Basement Project do is sadly very necessary and their support in the local area (North Worcestershire) is invaluable to the young people who use the centre. This is community in the truest sense. It was important to me as Laureate to work towards helping charity in some way. I was looking for something in my hometown to support and knew of The Basement Project and the work they do.
In 1998 the Worcestershire Youth Service held a conference on youth homelessness, attended by a group of young people from the county. Many of them had been homeless or had grown up in care and they told the conference that there was little or no support for them in Bromsgrove.
As a result, professionals attending the conference (from the local voluntary, statutory and private sectors), together with County and District councillors, set up the Bromsgrove Youth Homelessness Forum.
The Forum registered as a charity in September 2000 and is now also a registered company. In August 2010 the forum changed its name to North Worcestershire Basement Projects (operating as The Basement Project) to reflect the fact that the work supports young people from across North Worcestershire.
The Basement Project was located in the basement of Bromsgrove Baptist Church until flooding caused the trustees to seek new premises in Hanover Street.
North Worcestershire Basement Projects provides support to homeless and potentially homeless young people between the ages of 16 and 25. There are two interlinking projects: the Basement Drop-In Service and Outreach Support. These are shaped by and for local young people.
The support provided through the projects:
- prevents and addresses homelessness
- provides a family mediation service when needed
- develops young people’s independence, living skills and confidence
- supports young people to overcome disadvantage, homelessness and other challenges
- helps young people to achieve a positive future.
Some young people come to the Basement Project for one-off support, but many young people need longer-term support to address the issues and disadvantage they face. Therefore, as well as providing support in moments of crisis, the Drop-In Service will support young people over several months or years. Our Outreach Service is there for young people in need of more intensive support or support to maintain a new tenancy.
We support young people to access services available from other organisations and refer them to other organisations when appropriate. Some of the organisations we work with regularly include: Bromsgrove District Housing Trust, St Basil’s, Fry Housing, NewStarts Furniture Project, YMCA and Nightstop.
Copyright ©2018 North Worcestershire Basement Projects
I made my icy, snowy away across town this morning to deliver the first of my community workshops ‘Art & Words’ at The Basement Project, Bromsgrove.
It was a shame the weather meant several people who were signed up for the workshop couldn’t make it, although it did mean we could spread ourselves and our materials out comfortably.
It was an inspiring, creative and fun morning. I felt a bit sorry for the staff working when they clearly wanted to join in! It was lovely they all took an interest and popped in to see the progression and creations.
I spent my time helping to search for specific images in the pile of magazines I had taken and clearing up so all the participants had to do was focus on their canvas.
In the restful atmosphere of The Basement it was easy to create a relaxed environment for the workshop.
The arts provide inspiration and motivation for change as well as a positive channel for self-expression.
Participation in activities offers many benefits to people. They can add structure to people’s days, helping them to develop confidence, self-esteem and social skills. Activities can reduce feelings of boredom and loneliness and act as a catalyst, motivating people to make positive changes. Perhaps most importantly, activities can greatly improve well-being and quality of life for individuals who may have experienced extremely traumatic events or be facing a great deal of stress.
Arts activities should not be underestimated in their positive impact on the lives of vulnerable people.
Thank you to all the staff and participants for today.
The outcome are works of beauty. Inspiring and full of life.
You can volunteer at The Basement Project. More details here
You can Donate here