Tag archives: cultural and heritage sector

Monday, 24 October 2011

Action for Children

action for children logo

I had a fascinating meeting last week with Action for Children. I know the charity for its great work with looked-after children, which is what we predominantly talked about, but their remit is huge: to support and campaign for the UK’s most vulnerable and neglected children and young people ‘for as long as it takes to make a difference to their lives’. I was very impressed to hear about the help they provide for young carers, as just one example.

We talked about training in relation to looked-after children, particularly for their independent visitors, volunteers who befriend children and young people in care. The idea is for a course exploring ways to make learning and cultural experiences accessible, relevant and enjoyable for the young people they spend time with. It may be that we open up the training to people working in the cultural sector too. I really hope we can get this off the ground. It’s a very exciting notion.

Friday, 30 September 2011

The role of cultural and heritage organisations in supporting young offenders

It was great to give a course on working with young offenders for CILIP South East yesterday with John Vincent of The Network. The participants were highly experienced and deeply committed, with representatives from galleries, archives, public libraries and libraries in prisons and young offender institutions (YOIs). We explored how cultural and heritage organisations can contribute to YOIs’ agendas in terms of building young offenders’ confidence and self-esteem, fostering practical and social skills, and reducing re-offending rates. I found the debates about the constituents of effective projects and on-going work to support young offenders particularly interesting. Evidence shows that young offenders are more likely to respond enthusiastically to schemes that tie in with their interests and experiences, produce something tangible, and give them a sense of achievement. The involvement of the young people themselves in decisions is crucial. Storybook Dads, the Six Book Challenge and the Arts Award have been used extremely successfully in many YOIs, to give just a few examples. We talked about the importance of developing good partnerships between YOIs and cultural and heritage organisations, and the value of preventative approaches, working with Youth Offender Teams and virtual schools, for instance. Many thanks to everyone for sharing so many excellent ideas, and an especial thank you to Rachel Westworth for her invaluable case study on her work with young offenders at HMP Lewes.

While on the subject of young offenders, this is a useful article about how ex-offenders are helping turn young people away from crime.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Family learning in the cultural and heritage sector

I have been a family literacy tutor for many years, and my work in schools and libraries has made me a passionate believer in the value of family learning. I have experienced first hand the transformations that it can achieve for both children and adults. It is incredibly exciting and moving to watch skills and confidence grow. This family were dedicated attenders of a series of family literacy workshops I gave for Barnet Library Service. Their concentration says so much.

I love giving training on family literacy and on family learning more generally, and I am delighted there is so much interest in putting on family learning programmes and activities in the cultural and heritage sector. In addition to the important benefits to families that these initiatives bring, they are also excellent in terms of breaking down barriers and creating new audiences. My next openly available family learning course is on 17 November, run by Creating Capacity. We will have the opportunity to explore ways to make family learning a reality in museums, galleries, libraries, archives and other heritage organisations, and I will bring along lots of inspiring case studies. In the meantime, there is a very useful recent publication on the topic from niace, for anyone who has not already seen it.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Training courses on working with young offenders

A quick reminder that John Vincent and I are giving another course on engaging effectively with young offenders in Crawley on 29 September. The course is for people working in the cultural and heritage sector, including libraries, museums, galleries and archives. For anyone unable to make that date or venue, we are repeating the course in Leeds on 23 November.

There is more about our training on this topic on my website.