Arts Award inspires Aston youngsters online
published on 25 Feb 2021
The Salvation Army’s youth centre ‘Aston 614’ in Birmingham is empowering and up-skilling young people with contemporary qualifications.
As part of the Arts Award, music-production, game design, digital illustration, animation, sports coaching and comic book creation are just some of the nationally accredited qualifications on offer. In light of the pandemic, the church and charity has moved its services provided by the youth centre online so it can continue to support its young members remotely.
Karac Boldick, youth worker at the centre said: “It’s been very difficult for young people and parents during this (third) lockdown. Often, our young people live in small flats or houses with younger siblings and no garden and they cannot afford continuous WiFi”.
“When young people feel trapped for the above reasons, their mental health can suffer the consequences. We want to help alleviate this by providing opportunities to learn new skills in subject areas they are passionate about from their home environments”.
Group virtual sessions include relevant discussion topics such as mental health, racism, gang violence and social justice. Just recently, leaders including a trained counsellor provided coping strategies for lockdown 3.0.
Kudzy, age 12 said: “I’ve been able to do what I love doing, which is drawing and animation, and got a certificate for it. I’ve found lockdown hard because you can’t see friends or relatives and have to stay at home. Coming to the centre and doing the online stuff has been helpful because I get to come out the house and talk to the youth workers about Dragon Ball! And show them my drawings.”
Tierre, age 16 said: “Even though I can’t go outside, I can still play video games with these guys and talk to people. It’s helped me a lot as I’d do nothing all day - it’s helping me get past these days. I enjoyed the online Arts Award - it kept me on my toes and gave me more stuff to do inside.”