Blue Cabin colour block graphic

More Stuff Like This Please! Stockton

Holly Blythman from ARC Stockton reflects on the impact of creative activities on care-experienced children and young people.

More Stuff Like This Please! is a partnership project between ARC Stockton, Stockton Borough Council, and Blue Cabin which aims to offer arts activities to young people from/living in Stockton-On-Tees involved in the care system.

My role requires me to support Holly Gallagher (Young People’s Programme Coordinator) in the programming and organising of the activities here at ARC. I send out flyers to social workers and key adults inviting young people to come along to any upcoming MSLTP! activities. I also am a point of contact for signing young people up to activities.

The best part of my role is supporting the young people in the sessions here at ARC, the sessions are usually held over 6 week periods, 2 hours per session. Over the 6 weeks I see first-hand friendships being created, creative and social skills developing and overall young people having fun expressing themselves around other young people in a welcoming environment.

A personal highlight during my time supporting MSLTP! was meeting a particular young person who to begin with was one of the more quiet members of the group, not always engaged in the activity and would often give up with a ‘cant do it’ attitude. However, after multiple MSLTP! sessions this young person gradually came out of their shell. Becoming one of the most engaged members of the group, creating some beautiful pieces of art, learning how to play ukulele and completing an Arts Award Discover in a Day, this young person is now a very valued member of the group. It has been such a pleasure to watch this young person grow and become more confident and social, and even hearing from their carer how much they’re communication skills have improved is wonderful.

I have recently been taken on as a Creative Learning Assistant at ARC which means I will be able to help and support MSLTP! going forward, my hopes for the future is to have more success stories like this and keep building relationships with the young people. I want to keep encouraging them to get involved with arts, try new things and have confidence in themselves that they can achieve anything they put their mind to!