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The Garfield Weston Foundation, which supports 2000 charities engaged in the arts and education across the UK each year, announced the funding earlier this month.
Through its Creative Child, Creative Teacher and Journeys and Stories projects, which run throughout the academic year, Young at Art intends to work with 1500 children plus 200 teachers/adults in the children's lives. Many of the schools are located in the most deprived areas in NI with many of the children facing issues including, digital poverty, limited or no access to books, toys or play materials at home, family members facing mental health issues, as well as poor language and verbal skills and poor nutrition.
The founding principle for Young at Art’s Education and Engagement programme projects is using arts-based engagements to build each child’s early life skills - confidence, imagination and critical thinking. The projects will increase creativity in the classroom and help teachers support children's creativity, maximising their potential and boosting their ability.
Young at Art Director, Eibhlin de Barra said;
“Garfield Weston Foundation's support will help us to extend the impact of our Education and Engagement programmes in 2020-21, enabling us to work with teachers and parents to identify the issues children and young people need support with to build their resilience and enable them to reach their full potential in this changing and evolving 'new normal', devising and delivering more high-quality arts-based learning projects that reach as many children and young people as possible.”
“In addition to the benefits to pupils, this funding will allow us to continue to work with and train the highly skilled visual art and drama facilitators who deliver the programme, more important than ever in the current climate”.
Simon McLean, Principal, Nettlefield Primary School welcomed the news saying;
“Now more than ever Nettlefield needs Young at Art's projects to help my staff create new ways to support and develop our children’s learning within a completely new ’normal’.”
Bunscoil Bheann Mhadagain in North Belfast is a previous participant in the Creative Child programme. Principal Máire Uí Éigeartaigh said;
“Our pupils really enjoyed taking part in the creative child project - it gave them a wonderful opportunity to explore their creative side through art, drama and performance and brought a whole new dimension to this area of the curriculum.
“We are looking forward to the creative teacher project which will give teachers an enriching professional learning opportunity in a much neglected but extremely important area of self-expression which complements all areas of the curriculum.”