A groundbreaking project engaging hard-to-reach young people in Hampshire has been awarded funding of £131,000, allowing it to continue for a further year.
Horizon 20:20, which is led by charity Hampshire Cultural Trust (HCT), is targeted at young people in Hampshire who, for a variety of reasons, have either been excluded from mainstream schools or are unable to cope in a traditional learning environment. Its aim is to address inequality of education and improve access to arts within the county.
The project was funded for its first four years by Paul Hamlyn Foundation and was due to finish at the end of the summer 2020 school term. HCT has now, however, been awarded a further £111,000 from Paul Hamlyn Foundation and an additional £20,000 from Garfield Weston Foundation, enabling Horizon 20:20 to continue for another full academic year, from September 2020 to July 2021.
The Hampshire-wide programme is delivered in seven education centres, which provide an alternative setting to mainstream education. Working closely with artists and teachers, the project uses creative sessions, such as photography, sculpture, music and art, to break cycles of challenging behaviour and address mental health difficulties, aiming to improve both social skills and access to arts and culture. The project is the only partnership in the UK between a cultural organisation and countywide education centres that directly targets vulnerable young people at risk of becoming permanently disengaged with learning.
Paul Sapwell, HCT’s chief executive, commented: ‘In the current climate, this generous support from both Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Garfield Weston Foundation to enable Horizon 20:20 to continue for another year is now more important than ever. In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, and as society rebuilds, it will help us to ensure that our most vulnerable and disadvantaged young people are not left behind.’
Since launching in September 2016, Horizon 20:20 has worked with 600 young people, offering regular artist-led sessions, cultural experiences and opportunities to showcase their talents through exhibitions. Evaluation of the project in its first four years by independent researchers, Justice Studio, has shown strong evidence for the positive benefits of creative activity on wellbeing, development of transferable life skills and re-engagement with learning for those young people where other non-creative approaches have failed.
Catherine Sutton, Head of Programme - Education, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, commented:
‘We believe Horizon 20:20 will play a powerful role in re-engaging young people in learning, re-establishing positive relationships and supporting communication as they re-enter the classroom. Led by Hampshire Cultural Trust and a dedicated team of teachers, school leaders and artists, Horizon 20:20 intimately understands and is well-placed to adapt to the needs of young people and teachers created by this period of disruption. We are delighted to continue to support Horizon 20:20, and look forward to learning more about the positive impact of the programme on pupil’s confidence and wellbeing during this challenging time.’
Cat Cooke, senior cultural engagement coordinator at HCT, added: ‘Working with teachers and artists supporting young people and seeing the effect it has on them is incredible. Creativity is such a powerful tool, which can give often anxious, disengaged young people a pathway to build confidence, smile and want to come back into a classroom.’