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Link Newsletter December 2020

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Trafford’s ‘Talking Together’ Toddler Communication Group

Trafford’s ‘Giving Voice’ Speech and Language Therapist, Marie Ferreira, has been working in collaboration with Early Help Hub practitioners Lindsey Chinnery and Clare Smith to deliver a virtual Parent Child Interaction (PCI) therapy group – ‘Trafford’s Talking Together’.

The group, which has been piloted via Zoom, is a 5 week targeted language and communication group for children aged between 18 months and 3 years of age that have an identified language and/or communication delay.

The pilot, which comes to an end on Wednesday 16 December 2020, has provided a rich learning experience which is helping shape future delivery of targeted language and communication groups.

Each week, a different evidence-based language strategy has been the focus, where parents have been offered the opportunity to practice and discuss use of these strategies, enabling feedback and home practice to be established. Feedback from families has been positive in helping parents feel empowered in supporting their children’s communication development.  


Lockdown Innovators and Award Winners

Gorse Hill Studios, a charity based in Stretford, and their Summer Culture Club project have been awarded the Lockdown Innovation Award from Curious Minds, which recognises the delivery of arts activity or cultural education for young people during Lockdown in a way that is highly innovative.

Gorse Hill Studios is an ambitious youth arts charity which connects and empowers young people to understand, challenge and change their future, they believe creativity changes lives for the better, every young person deserves a youth worker and an opportunity to be creative.

Times have been tough for everyone but in particular it has been a challenging year for young people, with school closures and exam uncertainty, young people have felt left behind with their education many feeling isolated from friends and family members, with worries about catching up with school work.

Families with young people, in particular those who would usually receive free school meals, have had to tighten their budgets over school holidays with some carers and parents receiving furlough and even losing employment.

Gorse Hill Studios creative team quickly responded to those needs of young people and families who might be struggling in the local community during the first lockdown this Summer. Adapting in the midst of uncertainty Gorse Hill Studios went ahead with their Summer Culture Club for young people aged 5-18 years old, funded in part by Trafford Housing Trusts’ Active Appetites Fund.

Initially planned to be an in person youth club, Summer Culture Club went online when lockdown restrictions were put in place. The creative team provided four hours of free online creative sessions, four days a week over four weeks, for young people in Trafford.

Exploring different cultures through visual art, dance, music quizzes, and cooking the Summer Culture Club team at Gorse Hill Studios provided young people with free, fresh ingredients and recipes to cook easy healthy lunches via Zoom cookery sessions as well as arts packs with materials all delivered to straight their front doors.

For some families without support for free school meals this was a life line, for others this offered young people much needed socialisation with peers, key life skills, self-expression and support during the already nerve wracking transition from primary school to secondary school.

Parents and carers also received some much needed respite after months of young people at home.

Feedback from parents and families who took part in the Summer Culture Club has been amazing, with one Mum saying ’Thank you so much for everything guys, past four weeks have been such fun. It's helped me and [young person] build a bond stronger, [young person] was very distressed in the lockdown and I was struggling to keep her occupied with new ideas all the time. This has helped her tons with many aspects of life. Massive thank you to everyone at Gorse hill studios.’’ 

As Manchester along with the rest of the UK head into another Lockdown Gorse Hill Studios are proud to continue to support the community through their youth work, ‘’We will not leave young people behind, now more than ever we need to look after those most vulnerable and that includes making sure young people don’t fall through the cracks,’’ says Lizzie, a Creative Educator at Gorse Hill Studios, ‘’by pulling together as a team of creatives we are continuing to offer innovative approaches to engaging young people in arts and culture through collaboration, connection and creativity, helping them overcome obstacles and achieve in the face of adversity.’’  

You can find out more about Gorse Hill Studios and how to get involved in their youth groups or projects on or follow them on social media @gorsehillstudioscc on Instagram and @GorseHill- Studios on Facebook where they post updates.



Winter Lantern Festival

There’s a light and it never goes out! Gorse Hill Studios and Gorgeous Gorse Hill get together to light up the streets with their Winter Latern Festival. 

On Saturday 21 November 2020 Gorse Hill Studios and Gorgeous Gorse Hill took to the streets with their beautiful handmade paper and willow lanterns. Inspired by the mural artwork of local artists such as Caroline Daly, Hammo and Venessa Scott in the Gorse Hill area, these lanterns were constructed by the GHS creative team, young people and artists.

Amongst the lantern structures was a bee, a flower, a caterpillar, a spider, a snail and a huge carrot. The team paraded socially distanced in three groups of five around three routes, adorning Gorse Hill with a spectacular show of light for the community to enjoy safely from their door steps, gardens and windows. Members of the public even got involved creating their own paper lanterns, many saying how much they appreciated the welcome winter festivities brightening many months of dark days.

Initially planned to be a much larger scale parade with community participation at the forefront with in person lantern making workshops, this Winter Lantern parade, Gorse Hill Studios and Gorgeous Gorse Hill had to adapt when Covid restrictions meant these could not go ahead.

Workshops were taken online and young people from Gorse Hill Studios Saturday Challenge youth club for individuals with SEND ages 11-25 created their own lanterns from wet strength tissue paper and willow. It just goes to show being determined, pulling together as a team and thinking creatively meant Covid 19 didn’t rain on this parade!




Let's Talk Youth 

For the SEND conference we had a lesson on sign language as this was brought up as an area that was sorely missing from the current curriculum. There was also some discussion on the issues that surround living with or supporting those who are classed as SEND. Young people noted the difficulties around getting involved with online lessons and keeping concentration when they have SEND. The lack of disabled parking in the Trafford area was also raised. Also during the conference we did some fact sharing activities and a quiz.

It was a great evening and participation was good.

The Trafford Youth Cabinet have run 6 evenings of conferences over the last two weeks, covering a variety of topics. We talked about: Feminism, Mental health, Knife crime, the Environment and LGBT+.

We had 100+ viewers asking great questions, learning alongside us and sharing their world views. 

A huge thanks you to all our panellists, young leaders and watchers at home.