24 April 2018
This investment - of nearly than £20,000 - will help to create a series of activities centred on comedy training for people living with mental health issues and people with learning difficulties and disabilities.
The Bognor Institute of Laughter project gives members a louder voice, supports them to make new social connections and develop a range of creative skills. Members take on the roles of technicians, set builders and stage crew, working as a team to create an actual show. The focus is on transferable skills: problem solving, effective communication, and resourcefulness. It also brings the community together regularly in fun-filled settings.
Through the project, members support each other to build their confidence, learn new skills and move forward with their lives. It delivers a range of theatre production courses and makes use of a pop-up theatre. There is also a members’ network as a space for people to offer each other support and advice.
As Hilary Strong, Resident and Project Director, Making Theatre Gaining Skills explains: “Our project gives members an opportunity to improve their literacy and numeracy skills whilst undertaking practical tasks - whether it’s learning about scale by making a stage model, understanding budgets by working out the costs of materials, constructing a business letter, or by writing a press release to the local paper.
“The people we work with have mostly left school at 16 with very few, if any qualifications. They have often failed to achieve their key Maths and English GCSEs for a variety of reasons; poor attendance, disability, family break-up or a period in care. We find that they’re often resistant to further learning because they didn’t have a great time at school, so don’t acquire the qualifications they need to get an apprenticeship or a part-time job. The long period of unemployment that can follow means they are at serious risk of being permanently out of work with all the inevitable social consequences.”
She continued: “The intensive work experience offers a life-changing boost in confidence because the members work as a team, and successfully tackle a series of practical and purposeful tasks culminating in a professional tour. Most of all, it’s a highly effective way of providing unemployed people with real, transferable employment skills that will help them get work. And it’s fun!”
To date, thanks to society lotteries raising money through The Health Lottery, over £100m has been raised for good causes, People’s Health Trust has been able to support nearly half a million people and over 2,700 resident-led projects locally.