Teenage ex-offenders helped by art

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A three-week intensive art programme has helped give West Sussex teenage ex-offenders confidence and ambition to stop them returning to crime.

The Summer Arts College course is coordinated by West Sussex County Council’s Youth Support and Development Service and funded by Unitas, a national charity that helps young people make progress in mainstream education and training.

Those that took part in the course were: George Lawrence (15) from Bognor Regis, Jonathan Ayling (17) from Littlehampton, Josh Maguire (17) from Crawley, Kean Lamb (17) from Crawley, Dylan Mouza (17) from Littlehampton, George Gardiner (17) from Worthing, and Laura Farley (16) from Worthing.

Cabinet Member for Children and Families Peter Evans said: “I’d like to congratulate everyone who has completed the course. They can be proud of what they have achieved and are now in a position where they can continue to progress and face the future with confidence.

“The intensive arts programme is a fantastic opportunity for young people to make some positive changes in their life. As well as learning new skills, the course helps participants think about progression into employment and training.”

Youth Worker Luke O’Keefe said: “This project has shown that given the right opportunities, young people really have the desire to learn and progress. The level of talent and the achievements of young people taking part in this project has been extremely impressive and demonstrates why projects like this are important.”

Arts activities covered in the three week course included music production, graphic design and graffiti. Other elements were numeracy and literacy sessions, and the achievement of a formal arts qualification. In order to achieve this, participants had to produce a portfolio of work which included write ups about their arts heroes, and also to deliver a workshop explaining to other young people how to use a piece of multi-media equipment.