Creating Change is an 8 session creative, active and participatory workshop programme for women on probation.
During 2019- 2020 the 8 session programme is being delivered in 5 Women’s centres around the county funded by Hampshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner and HIOW CRC and aims to benefit up to 70 women on probation and their support staff.
The programme is delivered by BearFace Theatre CIC www.bearfacetheatre.org with support from Hampshire Cultural Trust, and is designed to encourage positive change for women on probation. BearFace lead the sessions with support workers accompanying key individuals. The impact of this work is immediately evident in the number of previous participants who return to support the programme as volunteers.
Separate staff training sessions have taken place and more are planned, in which staff 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
Each programme is bespoke and unique and based on the individual and collective stories, ideas, values and experiences of the group.
For two hours a week for 8 weeks, a group of individuals step out of their often complex lives and come together to form bonds through shared experience. Participation offers the women a chance to breathe and expand in a safe and trusting environment and experience positive changes to their attitudes to thinking and behaviour. Each course ends with a celebratory sharing of the poems, photographs, video material or whatever the women have produced.
This boost in self-esteem, confidence and self-reflection can help with the essential first steps required to go on to make meaningful and purposeful life choices.
As non-offenders it is hard to imagine the profound positive impact of 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.
“as soon as I came in my nerves went, I didn’t want to go somewhere and be treated like a criminal. It feels homely”
“this is contagious practice and a real investment for staff to experience”