Case Study: Kirklees YOT
BY: Alan Lynch
05 Sep 2018
Kirklees Young Offending Team (YOT) is made up of representatives from agencies including the Police, Probation Service, Children and Young People’s Service and Health Services. Kirklees YOT identifies the needs of each young offender by assessing them and addressing the specific problems that make the young person offend. The YOT also measures the risk they pose to others. This enables the YOT to deliver suitable programmes to deal with the needs of the young person with the intention of preventing further offending.
A group of young Asian men spent three months working on a short film which was launched in Dewsbury, while also achieving Bronze Arts Award. The primary aim of the film project was to support vulnerable individuals who may be targeted or recruited to violent extremism. Organisers were also aiming to support mainstream voices in the Asian community and challenge violent extremist ideology. The film, called ‘What’s Your Identity?’ explored issues important to the five-strong group including identity, belonging and the role and influence of the media on their lives.
The young film-makers were assisted by Yorkshire-based Lippy Productions as part of a partnership project between the Kirklees Youth Offending Team and the Kirklees Children and Young People's Service. During this process the group achieved their Bronze Arts Award.
The young people learnt how to use film and editing equipment and shared these skills with staff supervising the project. This experience of sharing their film-making skills increased their confidence and allowed them to 'show off' to staff which they enjoyed.
As part of the project the group were taken to a play at West Yorkshire Playhouse called 'the Black Album'. For many of the young people it was the first time they had been to a live theatre performance. The play was directly related to the film project as it explored the experience of a young British man starting university where he is vulnerable to being recruited to an extremist cause. The young people were able to identify and empathise with the main character as he was susceptible to peer pressure and was caught between different cultures. The young people were impressed by the use of a small space and the props.
Through their involvement, the young participants gained film-making skills and boosted their self-esteem, teamwork and communication skills. They became more self-aware, critical thinkers and gained knowledge of oppression and racism and ways to address these issues.
The young men’s views on how they perceive themselves and the experiences of growing up as part of an ethnic minority within Britain can be transferred to other young men to increase awareness, empathy and allow space to explore difficult and challenging areas of work with young people today.
The feedback from the moderator was: ‘An interesting and varied set of folders which showed the young people had clearly enjoyed working on their Bronze journeys...Some superb film work and personal reflections in their Heroes and Apprenticeships. Well done!’
‘This project has benefited everyone who took part and has given them useful skills for the future. It has also demonstrated how the arts, as therapy, can broaden a young person's perspective, change their outlook on life and help them become better citizens.’ - Cllr Peter O'Neill, Kirklees Council's Cabinet Member for Safer Stronger Communities.