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7th Jul, 2022

Teenagers at risk of committing crime handed artistic opportunity by Solihull charity

Felix Nobes 8th Oct, 2018 Updated: 8th Oct, 2018

YOUNG people at risk of committing crime were handed the chance to focus on arts and music in a special course offered by a Chelmsley Wood charity.

Gro-Organic provided a three-week summer arts college for teenagers aged between 14 and 19.

The programme was offered through the summer holidays and gave young people the chance to work with local grime artist SOX and Birmingham’s Poet Laureate and social activist Matt Windal.

Gro-Organic provides opportunities for young people to improve their mental health and stay away from crime by doing gardening and creating sustainable green spaces for the community to use.

A team of six young people, including young offenders, completed the programme, with four being awarded three nationally recognised arts awards which are equivalent to a GCSE qualification.

During the programme the group visited music venues, attended an arts festival and completed stone carvings.

They also created their own projects. One created a film with the assistance of ITV producers, another produced DJ beats and another filmed a music video.

Chief executive of Gro-Organic Sarah Gill said: “Watching the transformation of the young people who attended the summer arts college and seeing their confidence grow was incredible.

“I can confidently say I feel each young person walked away from the programme with greater ambitions.”

A charity spokesperson said long-term behavioural change was the aim of the course, and many of the participants have gone onto exciting opportunities as a result.

The mother of one of the participants, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, said: “My son was on a part-time timetable at school before doing this course.

“Since doing this course he has returned to school on a full-time timetable and is displaying very positive behaviour.

“He really enjoyed the course and was up and out every day to attend.”

The courses were delivered with the help of educational course provider Unitas, Arts Council England and the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson.

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