The Big House Programme

When you walk through the front door of The Big House you will be with other young people from similar backgrounds who will be going on this journey with you. You will become a member of The Big House and you will access opportunities and receive support and assistance from the team.

It’ll be fun but it will also be hard work – you’ll be part of a team that will challenge and support you, listen to you and learn from you, and help you understand things about yourself that you didn’t know before.

That means when you walk out of the front door, you’ll be a stronger, wiser, bolder person than when you walked in.

Each member takes part in a 12 week programme comprising:

  • 4 weeks of workshops (3 each week)
  • 4 week rehearsal process
  • 4 weeks of performances

Arts Award logo

You will also have the option of doing a Bronze or Silver Arts Award during the 12 weeks which is a nationally recognised qualification.

THE WORKSHOPS

At the start of the Open House Project we undertake in-depth personal assessments of each participant to identify the specific needs within the group; this will dictate the content of Life Skills workshops. Issues may include: Alcohol and Drug Abuse, Gang Membership, Criminal Activity, How to Avoid Homelessness, Successful Parenting, and http://vhealthportal.com Healthy Relationships.

Young people leave care with no or very few basic life skills. We will address deficits through practical workshops including Paying Bills, Accessing Social Services, and http://vhealthportal.com Healthy Eating.

Our workshops are designed to increase confidence, reduce feelings of isolation, broaden the ability to express feelings and develop aspirations for the future. Our workshops encourage self-awareness, communication and collaboration. We build our membership’s core skills, which are readily transferable to the workplace.

During this time, members also work with their appointed mentors planning their future goals and immediate targets for a return to training, education and employment after the Open House Project.

THE OPEN HOUSE PROJECT

From the workshops, The Open House Project emerges. The members’ own stories inspire the basis of a play and we commission exciting and innovative professional writers to work with them to develop the material into a production. Following a rehearsal process, a guerrilla style, pop up performance opens to the public.

The project concludes with a two week Post Production period where members work with their appointed mentors, planning their future goals and immediate targets for a return to training, education and employment.

Once you have completed The Big House Programme you become a senior member and have access to ongoing support from The Big House team and partnering organisations.

Our members are the most powerful advocates of The Big House. Some members who show strong leadership skills, who are charismatic and have the ability to inspire, may want to stay on at The Big House and be given the opportunity to lead their own workshops and become Buddies to new members. They will also go out into the local community to find those who would benefit from involvement with The Big House.

They will identify possible projects that will emerge in response to tensions in the local area and be performed to the local community as a platform for debate on the subject.

WOULD YOU LIKE US TO DELIVER A WORKSHOP FOR YOU?

If you would be interested in The Big House delivering a workshop for you, please  get in touch. We can deliver a one off bespoke workshop or a series of workshops over a period of weeks led by a trained Big House facilitator with 2 trained care leavers. These will be interactive workshops that could include:

  • Improvisation around issues relevant to the group.
  • Extracts of plays with themes pertinent to the target group.
  • Personal testimonies from care leavers who have faced problems and overcome them.
  • Acting workshops delivered over a number of weeks designed to build confidence, self esteem and communication skills
  • Exploring personal responsibility /attitudes and behaviour
  • Exploring the realities of offending/risk taking behaviour and prison

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