What does ‘Half Term’ mean to you? For many children it is a time to explore the Capital, visit family or go on holiday.
For others though, it's a time where the structure and boundaries found in schools is missed and entertainment is found hanging out on the streets with friends, making themselves vulnerable to peer pressure and influence from those older than yourself.
Our team in Tottenham wanted to give young people in their area something positive this half term. But how do you gather young people from different estates and build in them friendships, trust and confidence?...
One answer is through the performing arts. True, there are many performance arts workshops in London, but few are affordable. The programme we developed (called ReACT) cost families less than £4 a day and for that, the young people were given a t-shirt and a hot meal each lunchtime.
Around 10am every morning, 30 children aged 8 to 14 from across two of Tottenham’s estates, came together at The Engine Room for a week of fun, learning new skills and making new friends. For most of the children, this was the first time they had participated in such an event.
In partnership with ReachGlobal’s London team, the programme provided young people with a chance to learn new skills (including rapping, beatboxing, dancing, singing, acting and body popping). Rehearsals took place every day, with a performance at a local school for friends and family on the Friday evening.
In addition, each lunchtime, Christian performers in the West End came to talk about what it is like to work in the performing arts, inspiring the children for what they could achieve and speaking positive values into their lives.
This was the first time such an activity was run at The Engine Room, but the hope is that they will be able to develop a regular programme.
This is an excellent way to build bridges and trust in the community, for getting people into our centre and getting to know our staff. We would like to use this as a platform for inviting people to church or other events we put on.
"It's been great to see the young people make new friends from the different estates. It's really helping to build confidence as they are affirmed and give them something to channel their energies into.”
- The Engine Room’s Andrew Kwapong.
Please pray for continued partnership, that the children would maintain friendships and that as a result the team at the Engine Room would build deeper relationships in the community.