We’ve been awarded just over £385k by the Big Lottery Fund to expand our work with and launch a creative hub for young people across Lewisham and beyond. The project will begin in January 2019 and take place over the next three years, establishing a gateway to the creative industries for young people in South London.

We know that young people in Lewisham are incredibly creative, hard-working and entrepreneurial. In the last five years, we have supported 5,000 young people to take part in 1,800 courses, enabled 200 to achieve Arts Awards and provided 100 placement and employment opportunities. We work in partnership with Lewisham Homes and Youth First in youth centres across the borough to reach right into the core of our local communities. Young people then work alongside us to make extraordinary and provocative theatre, dance and music performance which is embedded in our professional programme.

The support of the Big Lottery Fund will allow us to translate this creativity and entrepreneurial spirit into access to the expanding, creative industries, which we know are are growing at almost twice the rate of the wider economy.

We have conducted extensive research among young people about what they want and need to enable that to happen, and shaped the project around that. Their top priorities include: hands-on professional experience, a safe space to develop creative skills, entrepreneurial ideas and creative enterprises, access to accreditation or further training opportunities, more activities to take part in, and a place they can create their own networks.

They were particularly keen for us to develop our digital offer so they could learn skills in the use of new media and technology. As a result the project will focus on offering skills development in four main areas: digital (including coding, web design & gaming), film-making, and creative music and performing arts combined with business skills for career development. It will also see us create a dedicated space with and for young people in and around the Albany where young people will direct their own programme including talks and workshops, providing space for rehearsals and running their own events. Other opportunities created will be trainee roles for young people in our creative team, mentoring, referrals to Further Education partners, volunteering roles and Arts Award qualifications.

We will continue to work closely with Lewisham Council, Lewisham Homes and Youth First and a range of other local organisations, businesses and creative partners to deliver the project.

The Albany Youth Programme Manager, Kirsty Collander-Brown said:

’I’m new in post and what an exciting time to join! London’s creative industries need the imaginative power of young people to continue to flourish and at the Albany we are fortunate to know some of the best emerging artists who live across this borough (be they 6, at the very beginning of their journey or 25 beginning their careers). The funding we have received from the Big Lottery allows us to work together with young people to develop their skills, build their networks and increase their power to shape the creative industries and make extraordinary work.’

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