It was only last month that we were reporting on the 300 or so young people who have attended SPARK workshops in the last few months – using drama to explore issues of social justice such as UK poverty and the devastating impact that it can have on people’s lives.
With the lockdown, of course, all workshops are off. It seems unlikely that the project will be able to engage directly with young people before September at the earliest.
There were 3 settings where some of the people involved in the workshops were ready to start a Social Justice group. This is a key goal of the project and there is a real danger of losing the momentum that has been building up. Some members of the Project Steering Group have been meeting via Zoom to try and re-orientate the project to work with the new circumstances and to understand what opportunities (as well as problems!) there might be to achieve the goals of the project in this different situation.
The Project Director, Aoibheann Kelly, is in the middle of organising an initial set of 4 video sessions aimed at our target audience (anyone aged 16-30 in the Leeds Diocese).
The first session will be with Marc Besford, a member of the Project Steering Group and National President of YCW (Young Christian Workers). He will be discussing examples of inspirational youth leadership.Other sessions include Tom Chigbo (Senior Organiser for Leeds Citizens) discussing how to start a social justice group and another will be an interview with John Battle, Chair of the Commission.
At first, we considered delivering a number of live Zoom sessions. However, the schools we have been working with were keen to have recorded sessions where they can share the link more widely.
Like many people at this time, we are feeling our way in this situation. The imperative, from the project perspective, was to do ‘something’. We will evaluate any comments we get back from these initial sessions and take it from there.