This case study is an example of how Fusion and its partnership network works together to promote and offer opportunities through the arts, culture, and heritage.
Youth officers from one of the Challenge Grant areas work closely with Fusion and a range of art, heritage and cultural partners to offer the most disadvantaged pupils a range of positive engagement activities. In October 2016, Tara*, a year 7 pupil, was referred to the youth officer at her secondary school as she was low in confidence and self-esteem. Tara was also finding it difficult to make friends. Her goal was to overcome difficult issues identified with a view to settling in to school life and forming friendships with her peers.
While in year 8 Tara was offered the opportunity to take part in a number of group work activities. She participated in the Young Promoters project, joined a walking and wellbeing group and attended out of school holiday activities organised by the youth officer.
In year 9 Tara participated in the Unloved Heritage project which is supported by Fusion and she has blossomed and increased in confidence since. She has been involved in several art, heritage and culture activities including: a project creating poetry; excavating at Parc Howard; a sculpture project and Literature Wales project.
Earlier in 2019 Tara travelled to France on an exchange visit. This culminated in her delivering a presentation on the Unloved Heritage project. In addition she has been involved in creating a short film and has interviewed key school staff members. During the summer holiday Tara was involved in a youth project run by People Speak Up, a Welsh arts based company.
Now in year 10, Tara is currently involved in the Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award; aiming to complete the award by July 2020. She is also learning to play the guitar, has taken up boxing, and volunteers on a regular basis for the after-school art club, supporting year 7 and 8 pupils.
In terms of measuring the distance travelled in 3 years, she is now a very different young person. Initially a person who was too shy to speak, Tara has wholeheartedly embraced the art, heritage and cultural opportunities offered to her. In doing so, this has resulted in her becoming a more confident person priding herself in her appearance and looking immaculate. She has formed positive friendship groups and a relationship with her mother. She is no longer afraid to go out and socialise and has embraced her sexuality.
Tara will continue to be supported and will be offered transitional support during the next academic year. Working with partners Fusion has supported her journey of transition and will continue to do so, where possible.
*Name has been changed to ensure anonymity.