We at Harmony continue in our endeavour to engage our services within the community with outreach projects incorporating exciting, quality and comprehensive projects (a few examples explained in detail below), but we also support referrals from schools where we understand young people’s difficulties surrounding their non-integration with mainstream education and social problems, and offer something of interest that may inspire them to gain confidence, we can develop this interest as a basic platform and use it to incorporate learning skills which will benefit the pupil later in life, not only educationally, but emotionally and help to point to a path that will lead to a confident happy life with finding their own position in society.
With respect to the above, we offer a variety of subjects to entice interest from youngsters, some of which are unobtainable within their field of reach, some examples are, music production courses whereby a song is written in conjunction with the pupils life experiences, professionally produced onto a compact disc along with artwork designed by the pupil and presented as a final product. This project has been particularly popular with students, not only in house but further afield with organisations and schools showing a particular interest, reflecting work commitment, the importance of structure and being rewarded with a final product with pride.
Another popular project that also engages because of the advances in technology regarding interaction via social media, art and the world around us, is our expertise in photography and videography (we are unusually fortunate that we have staff who are professional in photography, videography, DJ, and music production along with the facilities and professional equipment required), whereby we offer a storyboard of ideas that lead a path of structure to produce media such as radio plays, music videos and set pieces such as short movies. Again all the hard work, including of course fun, produces a final DVD or quality images in the case of photography, something to be proud of and inspire to further development.
Other in house courses range from computer skills, CV building, Microsoft word, basic filing and hardware, car maintenance and engine theory, singing, dancing, sport, hairdressing, writing, social media awareness, electrical theory, guitar from basic to advanced, piano and keyboard, weight training, make-up and many others.
It is worth mentioning that whatever the subject or course, the focus is on developing the individual, not only with technical skills but to provide understanding and a sympathetic environment which permits relaxed integration along with bonding to facilitate a strong trust.
The centre has a new feel to it and is welcoming of anyone and everyone who pursues a specific type of engagement within Harmony such as media and the arts. Our Open Access evening allows local youngsters in the community to come together under supervision, integrate with each other on a fun level and share ideas, our staff emphasise guidance and encourage any ideas or skills along with a sensitive ear to any difficulties or problems an individual may have in communicating to others. We are here to help, although the evening is focused on fun and relaxation away from the street where youngsters can enjoy our disco, pool table, football game, table tennis and playstation/cinema room, we also have a “Live room” for any inspiring bands or musicians to use freely. We focus on consistency where we have regular attendees which in turn spread our message, some of the young people who attend open access have mentioned that Harmony is different to other youth centres which they have attended because “the staff like are a family and make you feel welcomed”.
As mentioned initially here are examples of our outreach projects and how they have rewarded not only those directly involved but others. (in one project, the whole North West Region was reached, via the television news programme Granada Reports). We are in partnership with Affinity Sutton, Bolton Rotary Club and the older peoples group, at Greenways Community Centre, we also have strong ties with St. James Primary School, Daisy Hill.
Example: Ambition for aged.
The project is an initiative which improves intergenerational communications, by offering our elderly generation a chance to re-live their life experiences, compare times, offer advice and point to life skills which may be beneficial to our youngsters, of course, other than these interesting (and sometimes amazing) stories being delivered to our youngsters, it also enlightens our older folk and opens a door to visualise how our youth of today see the world around them. The emphasise here is interaction, and most of all, fun, but it also enables us to develop the project further whereby we professionally record and video the interviews (with personal permission of course) and offer the content to other organisations/care homes to enjoy and reap the same rewards of enjoyment and learning.
We were surprised at the level of enjoyment in this project by both young and old, with pictures and memorabilia being presented with pride, one particular example was a ninety two year old who was so busy at the centre she didn’t have the time to fulfil her “bucket list”! Again, the emphasis is on fun, along with lots of tea and biscuits accompanied by our free hairdressing service to make the day even more special. (Personal note; as a videographer this is my favourite project not only because of the general good atmosphere, but to see the young and elderly interact. It also reaches others via the DVD package). You are most welcome to a DVD on request.
Example: B-Free Anti Bullying Project.
Our project worked closely with St. James School where an action plan was devised to incorporate all year levels of the school (no mean fete) devising a dance routine with a qualified dance instructor, an original song written and sung by the children directed by our producer, along with capturing the final performances in front of staff, parents and guardians on a professional DVD package and presented to all with interest. The narrative being bullying, its effects on others and how to combat The children were incorporated in an out of school trip to our professional studio where their song was produced to disc. This project appeared on local television as mentioned above and our anti-bullying message branched out to an audience that even surprised us. We are also offering support for young people who have or are experiencing some form of bullying. Continuing to work with B-Free to develop a buddy scheme which can be introduced into primary and secondary schools to help young people with the transition of changing schools. Help is also available via website and links. This project was such a success we have since been approached by St. James involving other project ideas.
These are just two examples, we have many more, such as injecting excitement and enthusiasm at Sutton Community Centre to encourage integration in the local community involving snack bar, dance, guitar lessons, DJ music, art and craft, games and physical fitness to mention a few.
Harmony Youth Project doesn’t wait for people to come to us, our volunteers go to them, on the streets, and local communities, and work with people at their pace, on their terms and in their space to help them achieve lasting change. We cherish the whole communities requirements and needs, old and young alike but with a focus on youngsters Harmony’s team aim to help young people troubled by destructive influences and behaviour to turn their lives around.We firmly believe in early intervention as the best form of prevention. It can help avoid a downward spiral into crime, disengagement from education and mental health issues.
Strengthening networks in the community, relationships and resilience for young people in the Bolton area up to 19 years of age, targeting young people at risk of or experiencing getting involved with anti-social behaviour, or the inability to socially interact, this includes those who find themselves living in their bedroom and only interacting with others through games consoles or the Internet. Our approach puts the young person in charge, as they are the only ones who can make the change We’ve learnt that only professional youth workers and experienced volunteers have the skills to guide troubled young people through this process; to see the risks and manage them through their crisis. We all have the ability to aspire and inspire, but sometimes require a little help on our way.