I wandered down to Aspex Gallery (www.aspex.org) this afternoon to meet with Amy, who’s their Education & Participation Officer.
Amy is involved in a project called Futurators which ran for the first time last year. This project drew together a very diverse group of young people aged 11-17 who planned researched and curated an exhibition on a subject/theme of their choice. The result was a startling, thoughtful, sensitive and diverse exhibition on the theme of climate change.
Aspex are recruiting for this year’s cohort of Futurators but they also want to run a more localised version of the project in different areas of the city, called Common Ground. One of those areas might be Fratton.
Fratton Big Local Management Committee will be applying for the next tranche of grant funding to continue the consultation process, and its possible we might choose to commission Aspex to carry out a specific consultative piece of work with children & young people. There would be two outcomes to this: firstly we would have a dedicated group of young people seeking to hear and represent children and young people’s views in Fratton, but Aspex would in turn get some additional funding and the chance to extend their work. A two-for-one deal. We’ll see what the management committee might think of it…
I am on the brink…of submitting the HLF bid for Somerstown Stories. I met with Jan and Esther today to review the text for the online form. Jan suggested only one small addition, which was a very sensible one, so other than that, we’re done.
The budget seems fairly modest for a project of this scale, so we agreed to increase the amount of money for training for staff and volunteers, and also for resources and the contingency. Currently the budget stands at around £21k, with around half of that being the Project Leader’s time, at a 1.5 days a week. Even with the proposed increases it’ll still probably come in at just under £30k, and yet hopefully we’ll have involved at least eight venues across the locality and reached hundreds of people. One might consider that to be a bargain!
I also managed to meet with Amanda Burgess from the Omega Centre today. We’ve been trying to arrange a meeting for ages and knowing I was due to be at SPPS I rang Omega on the off-chance and managed to get a meeting in, before my meeting at the school.
The Omega Centre is a key venue in the area. http://www.omegacentre.org/
Its one of the oldest buildings in the locality and emerged mostly unscathed from the bombing raids of the Second World War. It was previously a school, and there are people living in the area now who used to teach there. The building is now leased from PCC by the WEA (Workers Education Association) which is national organisation with branches across the country. Their primary goal is around education and training, and Amanda was very pleased to for the WEA to have the opportunity to engage in the project. She explained that they could run a literacy course based around local history, and because it was literacy based, it would be free to take part. In addition she said they could offer cooking sessions and art sessions led by their Art tutors.
The building itself has very good facilities including a cafe, a large hall with a built-in projector and a range of different sized rooms. Amanda had already undertaken some research into the history of the Omega Centre when the WEA first took on management for the site, and she has a really interesting range of photographs which I haven’t seen before, and which she was very happy to share with the project. I’m really pleased that we can get Omega Centre on board and I think they might be able to provide an exciting and unexpected range of activities and events.
Amanda also pointed me in the direction of the Motiv8 section of the building, which I confess I’d overlooked before. I popped in and managed to chat with one of the staff briefly, but the person I really needed to see, Sarah Morris was on leave, so I’ll need to follow her up when she’s back. The Motiv8 team in Somerstown are keen to involve their young people in practical projects that make a visible impact on the area such as the Garden of Eden which saw a team of young people involved in revitalising a derelict piece of land next to St Peter’s church: http://www.youtube.com/user/CommSpaceChallenge?feature=mhum#p/u/9/3utmzhbgd4U
The Somerstown Stories project could lend itself very well to a specific piece of work that this group might be interested in…I’ll wait to see what my meeting with Sarah Morris reveals…