Logo for Creative Aid: creative project for care-experienced people in prison

Creative Aid

A co-creation project with care-experienced young men in Deerbolt Prison, supporting the young men to be recognised as artists.

Care leavers are over-represented in the prison population; one third of the prison population in Deerbolt Prison, County Durham, are care-experienced.

Being creative has been shown to improve safety and wellbeing in prisons, help people in prison build relationships with family members (Creativity in a Restricted Regime, National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance), and have a positive impact on rehabilitation and relationships within the criminal justice system.

Following a creative consultation with young men at Deerbolt Prison, Blue Cabin and Nepacs have been awarded funding by The National Lottery Community Fund, Reaching Communities Programme, to deliver a three-year project called Creative Aid.

The project will include artist-led workshops and support for participants, who are all aged between 16 and 24, to achieve an Arts Award accreditation.

The aims of Creative Aid

Our short-term aims are to:

  • support participants to develop their confidence and sense of pride, wellbeing and emotional literacy
  • help them to explore their life stories and develop their relationships with others, including family members and peers in Deerbolt
  • support them to develop their skills, knowledge and understanding of the arts
  • support participants to achieve an Arts Award accreditation.

And our long-term aims are that Creative Aid participants:

  • are recognised as artists and feel a sense of belonging in society
  • make pro-social choices, to refrain from reoffending, and engage in positive activities (both while serving their prison sentence and on release)
  • increase their confidence to access the ‘arts’ in the community
  • use their Arts Award achievement to lead onto further education or employment opportunities
  • experience improved relationships with family and significant others.
Logo for Creative Aid: creative project for care-experienced people in prison

The creative consultation

Creative Aid is based on the findings of a creative consultation by Blue Cabin and Nepacs which Blue Cabin Associate Artist, Nic Golightly, carried out remotely with 12 young men at Deerbolt Prison.

The aim was to find out what impact being creative has on their lives, and discover what they would like to achieve through creative activities longer term.

“…[Art is] helping you talk when no-one else is around. It’s an expression in many ways…”

“[I would like to do] meaningful drawing. Things that I’ve gone through and faced.”

What happens next?

The Creative Aid programme runs from late 2022 for three years. To be kept updated, you can follow Blue Cabin on Twitter at @wearebluecabin, or on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/company/blue-cabin. You can also sign up to receive our e-newsletter here.

Find out more

If you’d like to know more about Creative Aid, email Jane@wearebluecabin.com

Project Partner