SureStart gives me hope

“SureStart gives me hope”, Path in The Dark, An Anthology by Parents @ SureStarts in Abingdon, Breckon Hill and St. John’s Gate, Middlesbrough.

Parent Power, a group of Asian women resident in Abingdon, Breckon Hill and St. John’s Gate, have been meeting regularly at the SureStart Centre, Abingdon Road, Middlesbrough, to talk with other parents, to share their experiences and widen their horizons and potential. One of their activities has involved the group working with Poet, Maureen Almond and ceramic artist, Judy Caplin. Parents wrote about their experience of SureStart and designed and made a ceramic wall relief, which has been installed in the SureStart Centre, Abingdon Road. Together their writing and the ceramic wall relief echoes the journey the parents have made. The Anthology “Path in the Dark” is a collection of their poems, writing and pictures. The writing and images represent their involvement with SureStart and how it has changed their lives.

The Launch of the new anthology “Path in the Dark”, will take place on June 3rd 2004, 7 pm at the SureStart Centre, Abingdon Road, Middlesbrough.

The launch will be attended by Poet Maureen Almond, who will lead the group in readings of their work. There will also be an opportunity to talk to participants and view the ceramic plaque. Maureen is a Middlesbrough based Poet who has also worked on a wide range of literature and cross artform projects, targeting community groups which have included school children, disadvantaged young people, mature writers and people with learning disabilities.

Judy Caplin, ceramic artist travelled from Teesdale to work with the group. The wall piece is the culmination of a number of ceramic workshop sessions. From writing about themselves and their feelings, the group began to explore visual symbols which represented their situation and their relationship with SureStart: a lighted candle, hands of different colours joined together, the world, a tree with leaves falling like tears, an all-seeing eye, a bird in flight, a key to independence, an open door, a computer, a mortar board, a family divided or united – a heart.

“Working with the group has been a joy. These are women full of positive energy – just look at what they have produced.” Judy Caplin.

The anthology was designed by Circulation, a Hartlepool based graphic design duo, who trained at Cleveland College of Art and design.

tees valley arts worked with SureStart to develop and manage the project.

tees valley arts’ Director, Lesley Featherstone says:

“Arts activities can make a valuable contribution to many aspects of an organisations activities, promoting involvement, personal development, group cohesion and skills development. This project demonstrates an innovative way to achieve the kind of personal testament that brings project evaluation to life. The success of this project can be measured by the words of the participants.”

TVA is a participatory arts organisation, based in Middlesbrough and working across the Tees Valley, helping people change and improve their lives by taking part in the arts. TVA is a small organisation which makes a big impact in imaginative and unexpected ways.