If you can cast your mind back to Christmas 2012 The Lowry did its second public fundraising appeal that rose over £21,000 of donations to fund this project with Salfords Looked After Children.
Working in partnership with the Looked After Children’s team and the virtual school in Salford, The Lowry then recruited 20 Looked After Children from care homes & foster placements all over Salford to take part in a 12 month creative project at The Lowry.
The money raised has funded transport each week to bring these young people on a Tuesday evening to The Lowry and take them home again to their individual addresses which were the biggest barrier to their engagement in wider participation activities outside of school.
This is the first project that the Salfords Looked After Children’s team have done in partnership with an external agency, due to the challenges around logistics and the levels of emotional support needed for the young people involved.
The money has also paid for the young people to work with professional actors, directors, stand- up comedians and artists to work towards a performance which took place at The Lowry in October 2013. All young people have gained a GCSE equivalent National qualification through their participation in this project and will continue to work with The Lowry moving forward.
The project aimed to raise the aspirations and improve educational, social and personal outcomes for Looked After Children and Care Leavers in Salford through a long-term creative process.
Young people also had the once in a life-time opportunity to work alongside a range of professional actors, artists and staff including a Comedy Stand-up workshop with Salford’s own Jason Manford. Speaking of the project, Jason said;
“I’m from Salford. There was no Lowry when I was growing up. To have this place here now makes the world of performance accessible. Hopefully what I did in the workshop was tell these young people ‘this is not out of your reach’.”
This project allowed some of the most disadvantaged children and young people in Salford to take inspiration from The Lowry, as their local arts venue, to springboard them into a brighter future. One young person, speaking about their experience said: “This project has changed how I think about my future. I used to think that working in theatre was for rich people with loads of money. Now I feel like it’s a possibility for me. My behavior has also got better coz I’m mixing with new people. It was so cool to meet Jason Manford, he gave us loads of advice and its nice to know how well he has done when he’s from the same place I am. ”
The Lowry will continue to work in partnership with Salford Council to ensure these opportunities for children and young people in the city continue. Speaking of the project, Cllr Merry, Assistant Mayor for children’s services said; “This project is truly life-changing and giving some of our most vulnerable young people a great opportunity to shine. Thanks again to the public who have so generously made donations, every penny is going towards creating a brighter future for Looked After Children in Salford.”