Thrive has been a three year funded project by Children in Need to help young people who are living with their families and homeless in Nottingham. Our young people are often sofa-surfing, in hostels or hotels and feel stigma about their living circumstances so they hide the truth from those around them.
Meet AJ, they are 15 and have been living in a bedsit with their Dad for nearly a year. They had no privacy, no personal laptop and with their Dad on a zero hours contract they was often home alone for long periods.
Meet Beth and her brothers who were living in a temporary house after fleeing domestic violence. Beth was struggling with depression, anxiety and physical health issues. No one at her school knew about her situation.
We offered AJ art therapy which helped him express himself and gave him a place to go after school to meet others. AJ joined our art club once a week and we were able to secure him a laptop by helping him to fill in bursary forms for school. Beth also chose to use art therapy and brought her siblings to our youth centre NGY (where Base 51 is located) to attend the gym and activities like “Next Steps” sessions to prepare young people for independence. For both, their mental health improved, they met friends and were able to increase a healthy lifestyle.
We continued to offer art therapy online with art materials sent directly to our young people, we hosted online meet ups and homework clubs. We worked with Dino to organise a MIFI router to help his access to education and as lockdown eased he attended sessions at the centre with his sister to improve his mental health.
As the project comes to an end, our young people are accessing all of the continuing resources offered through Base 51 and have improved mental and physical health and increased relationships.
“It has helped my soul and my brain to rest for a bit as the art therapist always listens to my words and gives me some advice and I get the chance to share my worries with someone else. Moreover, art has always been in my life so it is much easier for an introvert person like me to express their feelings through art. I can completely feel the change in my behaviour as I have gained an understanding of the importance of talking to my family and friends about what is in my mind so that they can understand me.”
Written by Emma Worthington coordinator for The Thrive Project at Base 51