Like everywhere else in the world. the north west London borough has been economically, psychologically and emotionally impacted by the Pandemic. And while we're still in the thick of recovering, we've come to realise the value of pastoral care evermore deeply.
Consequently, Scribble Ink joined forces with Brent Pathfinders. The collection of wellbeing centres peppered around the area aim to support vulnerable residents with daily living.
I wanted to offer a programme that was aligned with Brent Pathfinders' values, would champion young people's ability to develop transferable life skills, provide a safe space to play with and express ideas, while encouraging their creative entrepreneurialism.
During half term, Scribble Ink hosted two clubs each day: The morning group (10-13yrs) developed a business model canvas for a Brent amusement park. Each young person worked independently on creating their park attraction or stall, and towards the end of each session, presented their vision to the group and explore ways to ensure brand consistency within the team. We began with icebreaker activities and introductions, followed by a think-tank activity prompted by amusement park-inspired videos. The group were then given a project and design brief to support them with developing an MVP (minimum viable product) to pitch at the end of the lesson. In addition to developing their ideas, creative writing activities including poetry and short story writing was also available. And of course, snacks, Disney playlists and giggles were an integral part of the programme.
The afternoon group (ages 14-17) developed a more advanced business model canvas for an arts-related enterprise of their choice - from NFT platforms to a record label, arts agency, events management service, freelance offer or literature platform. Learners were given the freedom to develop their business blueprint in as much detail as possible, or workshop ideas through good ol' fashioned trial and error. And of course, catching jokes and dishing banter was crucial. Through these workshops, learners developed a range of transferable life skills, including literacy, oracy, presentation, research, problem-solving, team building, independent learning, critical thinking and entrepreneurship - all the necessary tools for self-esteem building and career crafting.
Although the week was fun, it was not without it's challenges: Storm Eunice strolled in, forcing us to adapt to an online format last minute. However, despite shaky wifi connections and rearranging activities to fit working from home, we were able to create some beautiful pieces, including the short story written by the morning group (see book above). The afternoon group used the time to set up their Etsy stores and other online platforms, which they will continue working on independently.
The feedback was excellent and it was a joy to work with these groups, but it must be said, they also provided me with a few lessons: I was blown away by the tenacity, resilience and optimism from our young people, who despite everything they've experienced during the Pandemic - from missing birthday parties, playgrounds and socials with friends, are still bursting at the seems with hope and optimism.
Feel free to recreate the experience by downloading the activity worksheets and business model canvas workbook sample; show your support by downloading the short story; if you're a Brent resident, keep an eye out for future workshops; if you'd like Scribble Ink to deliver similar activities in your area, email email@example.com to enquire.