• Participants in the Creating Change programme from Aldershot CRC Women’s Centre with BearFace Theatre
  • Participants in the Creating Change programme from Aldershot CRC Women’s Centre with BearFace Theatre
  • Participants in the Creating Change programme from Aldershot CRC Women’s Centre with BearFace Theatre

Hampshire Cultural Trust (HCT) has been awarded £20,000 from the Hampshire Police and Crime Commissioner’s Safer Communities Fund for the pioneering arts intervention programme, Creating Change, now in its third year of operation.

Creating Change is a ground-breaking programme for women on probation, which was developed by HCT in conjunction with partners BearFace Theatre and Hampshire and Isle of Wight Community Rehabilitation Company (HIOW CRC) in 2017. The aim of the programme is to reduce reoffending and stimulate positive personal development for women on probation. 

The success of the first two years of the programme has led to an increase in funding for 2019/20. In addition to the £20,000 funding from the Safer Communities Fund, HIOW CRC has confirmed that they will invest a further £7,400 in support of the programme. This will allow HCT and BearFace Theatre to deliver £27,400 of activity to up to 70 vulnerable women in Aldershot, Basingstoke, Cosham, Southampton and the Isle of Wight in a creative and engaging eight session course using drama for positive behaviour change.

Charlotte Slinger, Cultural Engagement Manager at HCT, said: ‘We are thrilled that we can build upon the success of the first two years of Creating Change. The 2018/19 evaluation report provides a hugely positive insight into the participants’ progression: increases in confidence, empathy for others and self-worth all presented the most significant improvement on pre-questionnaire scores - evidence that this pioneering programme really is changing lives.’

The report also found that participants were able to develop interpersonal skills to negotiate, compromise, problem solve and communicate ideas effectively, enabling them to lead positive lives back in their communities. One participant commented: ‘I actually feel like a different person, meeting different people and seeing other people’s lives, amongst my own, it’s made me want to change what I do in the future and help people.’

Simone from Aldershot, who also took part in the programme, said: ‘I used to think that no one could help me and the women’s group would be a waste of time, but now I’m such an advocate of this work and the way it helps women who are all different but going through it all together. I would like to thank Jen and Kate from BearFace Theatre, this has opened up my life again.’

Jennifer Walmsley, co-artistic Director at BearFace Theatre, added: ‘It is a privilege to have the opportunity to work alongside such courageous and inspiring women. The programme continues to develop with input from group members from each women’s centre. This is a collaborative project and we are so grateful to all those who continue to support and participate in the work.’

Hampshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Michael Lane, has awarded 65 grants totalling £1,291,041 to support community organisations working to help make Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Portsmouth and Southampton safer. The purpose of the commissioner’s Safer Communities Fund is to support victims and help prevent offending.

Michael Lane commented: ‘Targeted support for community projects not only helps improve the lives of individuals, it also helps to reduce demand and pressure on policing. Supporting victims, protecting the vulnerable and reducing offending are absolute priorities and sit appropriately alongside enabling effective operational policing.’

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