Children and Young People


Charnwood Arts has a long and exciting history of developing and supporting high quality creative work with children and young people. From the ‘light touch’ of hundreds of professional touring performances to schools and community venues to longer term support work with children and young people with particular needs, from highly complex projects in film and new media to weekly arts and craft sessions with younger children. We have worked across all art forms, dance, theatre, music, visual arts, media, new media, literature and many combinations of these. Our work has won a number of National Awards and is known both nationally and internationally. Recently we were cited by Booker Prize shortlisted author, Alison Moore, as a significant influence on her decision to become a writer and many other young people have gone on to have successful careers in the arts, including our current CEO!

Charnwood Arts was established in 1976 and was intimately connected to arts based education in Charnwood and Leicestershire from the very beginning. During the late 1970s and early 1980s Charnwood Arts became a vehicle for a large number of extra-curricular opportunities for young people to engage in the arts and was particularly strong in developing performance work. Many exceptional artists from the UK and around the world have been involved in residencies, workshop programmes and projects in Charnwood and other parts of Leicestershire since these very early days and work was also taken to Edinburgh and toured internationally to our twin towns in Europe.

In the late 1980s and through to the current day Charnwood Arts began to work on many longer term initiatives with young people - with the Children’s Fund and other local funding initiatives we developed creative after schools clubs in key Loughborough primary schools, we also supported the ‘Bloomin’ Actors’ group at Shelthorpe school for over four years.

Our Next Level Cafe project with young people at risk ran for over 8 years. We also engaged in a number of long terms projects such as Meertrek - a three year long project with young people to create a nationally distributed computer game for younger children, and Choices, a project raising concern about drug use amongst South Asian teenagers. Both of these projects were conceived and managed by young people themselves with our support and expertise on tap.

At the turn of the millennium one of our most ambitious Youth Arts Festivals took place in Charnwood, engaging over 2,000 young people in workshops and performances. We have also worked extensively with local and national government agencies to consult with young people on a wide range of issues through creative means and were a key agent in the work that reviewed antibullying measures over two years in Leicester(shire) schools.

We believe that the arts in their broadest sense provide a vital component in the development of the individual - to develop and share ideas and perspectives on life. To develop communication and confidence, sense of self, imagination and well-being. The arts develop our social skills, add to our sense of community, enable the telling of individual and collective stories, release talent and develop skills that are transferable to many other areas of our lives.

Art is a continuum that begins with seeing, getting involved, becoming more curious, making choices, developing a skill or a critical appreciation, forming and sharing ideas, developing confidence in our emerging talents. Over the last 36 years we have seen this again and again with many thousands of young people. Art is too precious and too important to be put on the back burner.

As we develop our current year round programme with young people we sincerely hope that the message we have been promoting over the last four decades finds fresh ears. The arts offer us limitless possibilities and give us the means to achieve what is possible for each of us.

We do hope you or your children and young people enjoy the opportunities on offer through this current programme.


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