Blackbird Leys young people tell the tales of their lives

memories from homeA ‘Memories from Homes’ project has increased the confidence of young people in the Blackbird Leys area of Oxford by supporting them to tell their life story in front of a large audience.

Though spoken word and performance workshops the participants, aged 16-21, were asked to creatively explore their feelings about their family backgrounds and their personal lives so that they could present their reflections in an interesting way at an event held as part of National Storytelling Week.

Interest from the Blackbird Leys community was strong and over 30 young people were involved during the six weeks of the project, with 17 of them participating for the entire programme. The project was particularly  successful in attracting participants who have been in the UK for six months or less

All involved have commented on how the project has been enjoyable, with one of the young people saying: “I’ve also learnt how to speak out in groups and that is something that I would never do before.” Another of the participants said that the project opened up his mind and that even though the storytelling was challenging, they really enjoyed it.

Ruskin College was the venue for the project finale, when the young people performed alongside nationally acclaimed MC Reveal and his Poisonous Poets comrade Tony D. The event, held on 11 February 2016, also featured an exhibition of visuals created during the project that included a hand-painted world map illustrating the participant’s countries of origin.

The project was a partnership between Leys CDI the Arts Council, EMBS, Ruskin College, greenshoots, and Big Lottery Fund. The Leys CDI has been supported by the Leys Housing Consortium, which that brings together Catalyst, GreenSquare and A2Dominion.

Our community investment team, Catalyst Gateway, runs and funds a wide range of projects, ranging from youth mentoring schemes to apprenticeship programmes, gardening clubs to exercise classes. Find out how you can get involved.