We Belong

Building a supportive community and creative platform to empower children in care.

We Belong is a programme designed to tackle loneliness; building a supportive community and creative platform to empower children in care.

The arts enrichment programme aims to:

  • build relationships between looked after children and local authorities
  • connect children in care with each other
  • raise awareness of their experiences and give them a space, platform and voice.

This will be done through a series of sessions that provide a breathing space and guide the young people to try new things, learn new skills, uncover hidden talents and creativity; all while empowering them to make change.

The programme is kindly supported by Co-op Foundation, part of the national Building Connections Fund supported by HM Government and National Lottery Community Fund

Co-designed by young people

The programme was co-designed by a collective of care leavers in partnership with A New Direction in 2019.

Over the course of four creative sessions (March-April 2019) our Care Leavers Collective came together to co-design We Belong. Through creative mapping and research, conversations, creative writing, visioning, arts, and project design activities the Collective produced a series of four project designs. These designs centred on the themes of Healing (or Breathing Space), Creative Expression, Connections and Awareness, which emerged as core to the process and came to serve as the ethos and foundation of We Belong.

When taking part on this programme, I did not know what I was going to expect. This project helped me to build my confidence as I am shy and reserved individual. I met other people like myself from the care system which later developed into new friendships which is nice because I have never had a friend who went through the care system like myself. I learnt new things such as making short awareness videos. Overall it was an unbelievable experience and a memorable happening.

Member of Care Leavers Collective

Who is it for?

The programme is for 13 to 18-year-old children in care / care leavers in the London local authorities of Brent, Harrow, Ealing and Barnet.

We are looking for participants who:

  • Have an interest in arts and creativity (experience isn’t necessary)
  • Can work in a group with people of a similar age (maximum group size is 16 young people)
  • Can commit to the 10-day programme, delivered from January – March:
    - 3 Saturdays in January
    - 3 weekdays over February half term
    - 3 Saturdays in March
  • Will respect and commit to the We Belong values:
    - Respect
    - Understand
    - Support
    - Advise
    - Guide
    - Appreciate
    - Nurture
    - Love

Programme Delivery Spring 2020

10 total sessions in total:

  • 1 x Taster Day
  • x 3 Saturdays (January 2020)
  • x 3 days consecutive (February 2020)
  • x 3 Saturdays (March 2020)

How will participants hear about it and get involved?

Over the Autumn we are working in close collaboration with Barnet, Brent, Ealing and Harrow local authorities to reach out to young people in care and invite them to join the programme in Spring 2020.

If you work for a local authority, or work with children in care in these boroughs, and can help us connect up to useful teams or contacts in your borough, please do get in touch.

More from the programme