WFC in UK story
WFC have run training programmes in the UK since 2008: in London, Leeds and Cumbria. In London we have run five programmes, including a project in 2011 in partnership with The Prince’s Trust, which looked at the causes of the 2011 youth riots. The result was a campaign calling on youth to share stories around police stop and search as it was felt this was a major factor in the outbreak of the riots. In Leeds we worked with Asian communities outside Bradford in a small town called Keighley. Then as now, it felt important to give young British-Asians the opportunity to express themselves as a way of understanding how they experience Britain today. In Cumbria, our partner ran our six-month training curriculum. We are now looking for another UK partner to run the curriculum again, with a view to potentially offering it as an effective rehabilitation tool for young offenders. We have found our training programme gets young people back on track and it would be good to run more programmes with British youth who want to turn their lives around.
WFC in UK story continues…
In 2008 WFC began working with young people at risk of exclusion from school in Newham Borough. The programme continued for two and a half years with WFC delivering three genres of film making training to the young students from Little Ilford Secondary School. The teenagers were at risk of exclusion due to a range of issues that included tendencies towards violence, difficulties with focused learning, family and behavioral problems. WFC was really pleased that the group remained in school during this time, and 90% went on to further education with 80% studying Media. The group was supported by the late Felix Dennis, renowned publisher-turned-poet. Mr Dennis sponsored WFC’s third training programme with the young people, this time in Video Art. The young people selected poems from his latest anthology and used them as inspiration to produce backdrops for his 2010 poetry tour. The training was a great success and Mr Dennis went on to support future WFC projects in the UK
In 2010 WFC turned its attention to the marginaliased areas of Greater Leeds, working with young people of Asian extraction in the remote town of Keithley. Over the past few years young Asians, and particularly young Muslims, have featured regularly in the media but rarely in their own voice. WFC’s commitment to giving marginalised young people a platform to represent themselves made this a priority for the organisation. The teenagers made three films. One was about the youth centre in which the training took place, The Keithley Asian Women And Children’s Centre, another was about the shopping habits of the local population and the third was about crime in the Keithley area. This last film includes the opinions of young people on how they think crime could be reduced in the area, offering subtle yet powerful insights. Contrary to popular assumptions, these young people advocate for a stronger relationship between the community and the local police.
In 2011 WFC responded to the summer unrest with a training programme that focused on exploring the causes of the riots. A group of 12 young people, mainly NEET, developed concept ideas for four series’ that could be distributed across the web to spark a youth-led debate. Entitled What We’ve Done, the intention of the project was to identify the underlying causes of the riots and to present these in ways that would gather youth audiences across the country around a nationwide debate. The group produced four short films – first episodes – designed specifically to be interactive. The team designed and built a website for the project that surpassed all expectations. Interestingly, the conclusions arrived at by the group were the same as those identified in the report produced by The Guardian Newspaper and The London School of Economics. The What We’ve Done website can be accessed at www.whatwevedone.co.uk
2012 saw the lauch of Part II of the riots programme. Having created the brand, website and four short films on the causes of the riots, Part II focused one cause and built a campaign around it. Police stop and search has been a contentious issue for some time and for these young people, it was part of their daily lives. In response, the group replaced the original website with an advanced and more interactive site, asking young people to send in their video testimonies of being stopped and searched. WFC were fortunate to be sharing the space wth BBC 1 Xtra enabling the crew to interview some of the biggest names in music and film, asking them to share their thoughts and experiences on being stopped and searched.
These programmes were run in partenership with The Princes Trust.
After running over 25 training programmes with young people throughout the world, WFC was ready to create its mgnum opus, a six-month programme that would take a young person from a sitaution n whch their options are limited and they and vulnerable to negative inflences that may lead then to enter (or re-enter) the criminal justice system, become a teenage mum or find themselves long-term unemployed. Combining transfer in technical and marketable skills with personal development including an understanding of how to function in a working environment, WFC’s six-month training programme is designed to lead participants back into education or into work. It also nurtures entrepeneurship of those in the group who can see the benefits of applying these skills to a small business. WFC supports these young people by facilitating opportunities in the commercial world.
WFC’s first roll-out of this programme is happening in Wigton, a factory town in Cumbria on the border of England and Scotland. The progamme is being taught by two fantastic tutors and is taking pace at the Market Hall. We’re grateful to the team at North Allerdale Development Trust for project managing the programme. We are grateful also for the support of Councilor, Roger Liddle, MP Rory Stewart and local philanthropist, Bill Lowther.