Tees Valley Arts were awarded the prize for Youth Arts and Culture at the North East Youth Work Awards at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light on Tuesday 26th March 2013.
More than 150 guests attended the ceremony, organised by the Gateshead-based Regional Youth Work Unit North East, to see twelve awards handed out to individuals and organisations for their commitment to youth work.
Tees Valley Arts is an arts development agency which works across the Tees Valley; TVA works with people of all ages and from all backgrounds, with a particular emphasis on work with young people in difficult circumstances. TVA’s activities help those young people achieve things they are proud of, sometimes including accredited qualifications, and support them in making positive next steps in their lives.
TVA won the award for its innovative and life-changing arts projects, created with a wide range of partner organisations such as Barnardos SECOS, The Evergreen Centre at West Lane Hospital Middlesbrough, Looked After Care Teams within five different local authorities, Teenage Pregnancy Services and Youth Service Teams in Middlesbrough and Stockton Councils as well as young people from refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds.
Some of its recent projects with young people have included:-
Working with young people in the Evergreen Centre at West Lane Hospital, a unit for adolescents with acute eating disorders; patients were enabled to use poetry, art and writing to express their feelings, and the resulting artworks were collated into a book and used to decorate a courtyard. The Evergreen Unit staff were awarded the Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys National Health Trust ‘Working in Partnership’ award for this project.
Writers working with teenage mums and mums-to-be in Hartlepool on two projects – Getting It and Crossing the Line – exploring the difficulties and the achievements of the young mothers as they travelled the rocky road of teenage pregnancy.
The stART Project worked with young people aged 17 to 19 categorised as Not in Education, Employment or Training, and helped 70 young people in Middlesbrough and Stockton make some positive choices about their next steps.
The Moving On project is using the arts to help give the young people in the care of the five Tees Valley local authorities a range of skills to help them to move on positively, adding value to the dedicated work of the Care Teams.
The Risky Biz project is working with young people from Barnardo’s SECOS project, for those who may be at risk of exploitation. The young people have created their own visual artworks, creative writing and films, as well as exhibiting their work at mima.
The MusicMix project is working with young people, including asylum seekers and refugees, to develop their skills in creating, playing and performing original music.
Rowena Sommerville, Director of Tees Valley Arts, commented “We are delighted to have won this award and to receive recognition for our projects with young people. We believe that creative participation can help to transform the situations of young people who have challenging, complex and often chaotic lives. Thanks must also go to the fantastic artists who have worked with us on these projects”