Wilde About Arts



Just as we at CentreStage believe in the importance of creative thinking in the work place, we’re also strong believers in the power of the Arts more broadly in improving lives and broadening horizons. And for no one is access to the Arts more important than vulnerable young people. That’s why we’re supporting Wilde About Arts, part of an incredible programme of workshops run by South Hill Park Arts Centre for young people.

Wilde About Arts is a fantastic class for  young carers, young people who are in care or who are considered ‘at risk’. It is a life-line for many who have been forced to grow up sooner than they should. In the weekly two-hour class, art is used as a means of escapism. Participants are free to explore their creativity and self-expression in a safe environment and under the watchful eye of two professional tutors. And it’s a life-line that was put in jeopardy last year by the announcement of local council funding cuts.

It’s a time when all public services are feeling the funding squeeze, and the Arts are no different. But we believe Wilde About Arts, and other programmes like it, are too important to be lost to austerity. Accessible to everyone, regardless of age, race, gender, disability, sexual orientation or social-economic background, the youth programme run by South Hill Park is a voice for diversity and a step towards the provision of equal opportunities to young people.

Annually, Creative Learning at South Hill Park works with over 2, 000 young people through the courses, classes and opportunities they have on offer. The arts centre runs the most successful Summer and Easter school in the region and has a dedicated team of individuals aged 14-21 called ‘Missed Out’, who work as a team to create events for other young people in the area, including band nights, quiz nights and a festival for primary school children which attracts in excess of 400 students annually.



Eleven Nineteen is another of the workshops on offer at South Hill Park. An open access club for young people, participants pay just £1 per week to take part in a professionally led activities such as Chinese Lion Dancing, spray paining, sword fighting, yoga, street dance, musical theatre, outdoor survival and much more. Because of the low price, the session is accessible to everyone with inclusivity, togetherness and discovery lying at the heart of the group.

All of this is only made possible by donations. Without that support, life for young people at South Hill Park would be a very different experience. Asked to indicate which skills and abilities they had improved by participating in a course or class at South Hill Park, 90.1% said they had increased their confidence, 85.9% said they were better at working in a team and 83.1% said they were better at Social Integration and making new friends. But in addition to this, access to and participation in the Arts can, in the long term, be an alternative to depression, social exclusion and anti-social behaviour.

For now, Wilde About Arts and other youth programmes continue to improve young lives in and around Bracknell, but they depend on outside support. If you would like to support the youth programme at South Hill Park, email Mark Hooper – mark.hooper@southhillpark.org.uk

For more information, visit http://www.southhillpark.org.uk/about/creative-learning/

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