Finding Your Element

A lot of the time, ‘success’ is either measured in material things or in career status: Mainstream rhetoric tells us that to be called successful, you either have to have made tons of money, or be a big-time bosswoman/man, or ideally both.  

We think success is a lot broader than that. It’s about feeling confident in yourself and confident in your abilities. It’s about finding your unique purpose and applying it in your everyday life. If you feel good, you are automatically making a success of things. Sure, it wouldn’t hurt to be making the £$€ at the end of it all, but what’s crucial is having the emotional stability to feel like you can make a success of things.

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Collaboration

As much as possible we aim to be collaborative in our work. This means working closely with local authority leaving care teams, arts organisations, and other organisations that work with care leavers. We feel that the potential for multi-agency working is huge, and when it’s done right it maximizes opportunities for care leavers as well as making staff’s lives easier.

First and foremost, we collaborate closely with leaving care teams. Each Storeys project partners up with one local authority, and we work with their social workers and personal advisors to gather referrals. This ensures that we can spend time with staff, conveying a clear idea of what the project entails and what the benefits are to young people. We know that often staff will know the best way to introduce our projects to a particular young person, and what might pique their interest. This also allows us to tailor our sessions in order to provide the best possible emotional health support for young people leaving care.

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Being Open-Minded

At Storeys we know we are always learning from the people we work with, be that care leavers, local authority staff, artist facilitators or other amazing organisations. For this reason we aim to keep an open mind when developing our projects, and continually listen and respond to the feedback of our young people and clients.

Storeys was originally developed based on a combination of insights from working with young people, care leavers and in the field of the arts. Alex’s work in a pupil referral unit (PRU) helped inform her work on Storeys. While working there she noticed that although most of the students were there because they had been excluded from school due to violent outbursts, there was no comprehensive programme for anger management or discussion around difficult emotions.

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Emotional Wellbeing

Since the inception of Storeys we have had a focus on emotional health and wellbeing with care leavers. We began Storeys for a number of reasons, but one of the most important among these was the lack of emotional or holistic support available for young people leaving care. This gap in support is something that is now being widely reported on in the sector: it has been flagged in government reports, as well as by the NSPCC (Achieving Emotional Wellbeing for Looked After Children, 2015), the Centre for Social Justice (Survival of the Fittest, 2014) and many others.

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Artists

We believe that everyone is an artist, and that unlocking creativity not only increases self-confidence, but can also help to fine-tune an individual’s purpose and passion.

In every project participants are challenged to try a wide range of artistic approaches. These have included photography, acrylics on canvas, spoken word poetry, acting and directing, sculpture, and mixed media. Using these, participants create a new piece of art in each session, ending the project with a diverse portfolio. You don’t have to be an expert in any of these disciplines to create engaging and exciting work.

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Westminster Project

Over May and June, Storeys ran a creative arts project partnered with Westminster Leaving Care Team. Read more for an insight into the sessions, and how the group geared up for their showcase exhibition at the Tate Britain ...

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Eloise Acland
Hackney Holiday Project

This Easter holiday, we were lucky enough to run a project in Hackney, in partnership with Hackney Virtual School. Our group were 11-14 year old children in care from the area. This is a feature on the creativity, resilience and intelligence of these young participants.

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Eloise Acland
Poems

Yesterday, we had a workshop on managing emotions with the wonderful Richmond and Kingston lot. We talked about how it can be useful - if you’re feeling an overwhelming emotion or find your mind returning to one incident or emotion again and again - to write poetry as a creative outlet.

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