The Summer Hubs. Photo Credit: Dafydd Owen

Hearts for the Arts 2021 Shortlist – Summer Hubs

Flintshire County Council's Summer Hubs has been shortlisted for Best Arts Project in the 2021 Hearts for the Arts Awards.

The Summer Hubs was a project developed by Flintshire County Council and Theatr Clwyd for young people who needed additional support due to the impact of lockdown. The project took place during the summer holidays and young people took over Theatr Clwyd for four weeks, when no one else was allowed in. They could be found on the stages, in the rehearsal room and in a specially erected marquee outside the building.

Flintshire County Council recognised the benefit that a project which supported some of the most vulnerable families in the community could have. In partnership with Theatr Clwyd a fun and creative programme was developed – away from the traditional model of care.

Flintshire Social Services identified 23 young people who needed additional support and would benefit from the project and 37 young people whose parents had been key workers for the local health board. They took part in fun, creative activities providing them the opportunity to socialise in person and giving the families respite from an unforgiving year. Activities included drama, dance, visual arts, beat boxing, comedy, composing and song recording. One of the groups finished their summer hubs experience by performing a play on Theatr Clwyd’s main stage in front of the Clwyd team and another wrote and recorded their own song.

The project employed 28 creative freelancers, many of whom had not worked with young people in this way before. Full training was given prior to the workshops and the success of working with them in this way has led to Theatr Clwyd developing a long-term programme that will employ creative freelancers to support young people living in care.

Some of the young people admitted it was the first time that they had stuck with something for so long and expressed their desire to keep coming back and how much they had enjoyed making friends with other people in their group. This has led to the team continuing to meet with the participants and developing a weekly group for them to join which was aiming to start January.

What the judges said:

“A brilliant council and theatr partnership supporting the well-being of young people, which should be used as a model for others.”

“An important project targeted at vulnerable children and providing them with much needed support and creative activities during the difficult days of lockdown. A reminder that not all engagement activity during COVID-19 was virtual – it is impressive that this project managed to delivery such a comprehensive programme of activity with social distancing measures in place.”