PFCC supports London Bus Theatre Company in helping young people build a positive future
A theatre company is enticing vulnerable young people away from the risk of offending and putting them on a path towards a potential career.
The London Bus Theatre Company provides drama workshops on issues such as bullying, drugs, alcohol and antisocial behaviour.
It also gives vulnerable young people on Canvey the opportunity to get involved in the creation of short films, sparking conversations around hard-hitting topics.
The Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex (PFCC) contributed £6,990 to London Bus Theatre from the 2022-23 Crime Prevention F
und to carry out a short film and life skills drama project between May 2022 and January 2023.
Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, said: “Times are hard for so many right now and that could have a devastating impact on the future of our young people. By keeping them off the streets and engaged in something as positive as this drama project, we will be able to give them the very best opportunity to keep on the right path and fulfil all their ambitions.”
A group of 30 people aged 12 to 19 have come together to create a short film called One Punch, looking at the harsh reality of the tragic consequences just one punch can have.
Filmed at the skatepark and seafront on Canvey and at Adventure Island in Southend, the young people took on the roles of actors and producers as they brought the piece together.
Kathy Austen, project manager, said: “The young people came up with the idea themselves of focusing on the issue of a single punch and its consequences as it had been in the press. So many times, you hear of scuffles happening over something silly – even between friends after a drink – and all it takes is for them to fall and hit their head on concrete and they could be instantly killed. Two families are then left in disarray and affected forever, with one likely to end up in prison.”
“We see them grow in confidence and their communication, decision-making and life skills improve. We see a huge amount of positive change in them. We speak with local schools and they say it is a fantastic opportunity that has a positive knock-on effect at school. It also gives them something to put on their CV as they can complete the Arts Awards for Young People with us; that is something to put on their UCAS applications and to talk about at interviews.
“The more we can get out there and teach young people about these issues, the better. They love getting out there and working with other young people while having fun. They make new friends and it reduces isolation.”
Of the funding, Kathy said: “It is all funded, so parents do not have to worry about finding the money. Families are struggling with the cost of living, so that is all the more important right now.
“We could not do it without the funding; it is essential for us to keep going.”
Young people can go on to get paid acting work as a result of the drama classes and filming activities the theatre school offers.
Community Safety Development Fund applications open
Voluntary and community safety groups from across Essex can apply for a funding boost from the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex’s Community Safety Development Fund.
The £333,000 fund offers grants of up to £20,000 for community projects that help to prevent and tackle crime and anti-social behaviour in Essex, as well as supporting vulnerable people.
Applications to the fund have to demonstrate that they will make a positive impact on at least one of the Police and Crime Plan or Fire and Rescue Plan priorities. More info here: Community Grants – Essex Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner (pfcc.police.uk)