Since 2017 Hampshire Cultural Trust has worked in partnership with the National Probation Service (NPS)* to deliver an arts led intervention to service users on probation in Hampshire.
Creating Change is an interactive arts programme of drama, theatre and writing techniques to help NPS Service Users (predominantly women) to identify, moderate and manage their attitudes, thinking and behaviours in order to make positive changes in their own lives.
Creative, active and participatory, the programmes are designed and delivered by BearFace Theatre CIC who are skilled and experienced in responding to the needs of groups and individuals to build trust, honesty and a sense of fun, so that women feel safe and able to share towards building a sense of hope for change.
“I have gained a lot of confidence and I’ve started to believe in myself. I had no idea what this programme was before I turned up – I was overwhelmed and had no confidence. This is the only thing I come out of my house for. Being an all-woman group helps you feel safe and relate to other women’s lives. Playing can make me feel overwhelmed as I‘m almost 50! It can feel strange to play but it makes things memorable”
Since 2017 we have worked with 200 women and men within the NPS across Hampshire.
BearFace Theatre lead the sessions with support workers accompanying key individuals. Separate staff training sessions enable staff to experience for themselves what the participants do. This helps them to understand, support and be advocates for the programme and this continued professional development feeds into the rest of their work and equips them with new skills and ways to engage with women on probation. Previous participants have returned as volunteers to help promote and support the programmes.
It is recognised that women are often victims as well as perpetrators of crime and Creating Change addresses the needs and behaviours that will help to prevent the repeat pattern of victimisation. The tone of the course is about creating a safe, honest and trusted space and the awareness of self- respect, assertiveness, emotional intelligence and confidence, equipping women with the ability to ask for help from support networks and to trust the systems that are in place for women.
There is a profound positive impact from being given permission to play, to explore self- expression, to experience critical self- reflection, to be encouraged to feel love and compassion for yourself and others and to experience trust and safety in a learning space/group.
“This group has helped my anger management. I can be a fool without violence. I’ve learned how to negotiate”
“I’ve gone to the police about something, it’s given me the confidence to do that rather than take the matter into my own hands.”
“I’ve not been listening and now I can start listening and behaving. I can be myself, not be judged. I have freedom of speech here.”
“this is contagious practice and a real investment for staff to experience” Staff feedback.
Please click on the links below to read the Creating Change evaluation reports from previous programmes.
*Prior to June 2021 this was the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Community Rehabilitation Company - HIOW CRC