Six Ways to Wellbeing
Ideas Test worked with Swale CVS to offer young people in the Swale & Medway area the chance to try out creative activities that would help them feel positive about themselves and to support their general health and wellbeing.
All of Ideas Test’s work aims to put creators and consumers of arts and culture in the driving seat so that they choose how they will engage with creativity. In line with this approach, Six Ways to Wellbeing put young people at the centre, making sure that what we offered them was of interest to them, and would support them in their wellbeing.
As young people signed up to take part in the programme, they were asked what they were interested in, and offered a choice of varied creative activities. Young people who had already engaged with Ideas Test, as part of its youth programme Impact, worked as volunteers to help us promote the project to their peers using social media. They also helped produce events and encouraged others to get involved by demonstrating their own creative talents at sharing and celebration events.
Young people from Faversham, Sittingbourne and Sheerness took part in a series of events and programmes ranging from creating a film, to having a go at creative taster sessions with professional arts organisations including Jasmin Vardimon Dance and Viola Films.
During a series of workshops, young people at Sheerness County Youth Centre worked with Viola Films on a filmmaking project culminating in the creation of a film, The Story of Six, based on the six ways to wellbeing. Participants got involved in acting, hair and makeup and working alongside professional actors and filmmakers to see how the process works. At a sharing event in Sittingbourne, young people screened their film for an audience made up of family, youth workers and friends – clearly hugely proud to see their work in cinema scale. ‘Fantastic event,’ said Kieren's Dad, who also suggested we should sell copies of the film on DVD to fund more activity at the youth club.
In Swale, young people carried out demonstrations at the Sheppey Healthy Living Big Bash event, as well as creating some top tips for wellbeing which they shared on tumblr. They also produced a celebration event at the end of March, which featured their own performances, a screening of the Story of Six film and star guest Jamie Johnson from BBC’s The Voice.
What impact did the project have?
Jack, Thomas, Aria, Dani, Elena, Lorna and Sam put a great deal of time into the Six Ways to Wellbeing project, and were very positive about the good effect it can have on their peers. The experience they have gained through volunteering, performing and generally being involved has given them confidence to develop their own ideas.
The project was a challenging one in many ways but a huge learning experience for everyone involved. Some of the partner arts organisations had limited experience of working with harder to reach young people whose concentration and commitment was sometimes challenging. However, all the arts partners identified the rewards of working successfully with hard to reach young people and the value of this to their practice and Wide Eyed Theatre have been using what they learned in a new project they’re delivering in Whitstable.
"Seeing some of those young people smile by the end of the session and the positive impact on their wellbeing through their participation was very rewarding." Jasmin Vardamon Company
"The young people we worked with were fab. They...gave us a level of trust and commitment that was fantastic." Viola Films
All the arts partners said they would like to work with Ideas Test again. Viola Films said: "Ideas Test offers us a way of working and a freedom ... to explore ideas and opportunities in a way that other organisations don't."
As for the young people who took part, they had this to say about incorporating Six Ways to Wellbeing into their lives:
"Wellbeing to me means being active, keeping fit, going out and meeting people." Kieren
"Socialising, going out with your friends, doing fun activities with other people." Harry
"Do what makes you happy and you don't care what people think." Veronika
"When I'm in a bad mood I'll talk to my friends, or just take a five minute break to calm myself down." Harry