West Lothian Young Carers

12 Jan


Recently we have been working with the West Lothian Young Carers Partnership (WLYCP) on a short song-writing project with a group of teenage girls with caring responsibilities supported by the Scottish Mental Health Arts & Film Festival.

The project emerged out of discussion with the workers and girls at the WLYCP as we had initially envisaged the young people contributing ideas and suggestions towards a media list of songs, films and books that reflected their experiences as young carers. Through the dialogue it soon became apparent that providing a focus on the girls’ real interest in music lyrics would encourage a more specific involvement and commitment to the process and respond directly to their own interests. So the idea emerged to offer workshops to develop this interest further.

In devising the short series workshops we teamed up with Firefly Arts who are based in Livingston and support the personal, social, educational and artistic development of children and young people throughout West Lothian. In this way we could make sure that if the initial sessions were a success in sparking their imagination there would be a local organisation to support this enthusiasm further.

The experienced Polly Phillips, a local singer, musician and cultural & schools project worker was approached to lead the workshops to ensure that these would be of high quality and meet the girls’ specific interests. A total of four workshops were planned to introduce the girls to music and song writing and get them to start thinking about how songs are put together and what they convey. It was clear that the girls got a lot out of this brief experience. Feedback form the workshops described them as fun, amazing and brilliant. The girls also told us that it gave them more confidence and a further taste for song writing and recording. The WLYCP workers identified that some of the young carers hadn’t met before the workshops and that the experience has supported them to make new contacts which are being maintained out with the sessions. Firefly Arts has offered to continue working with the girls.

The result of their collective efforts:

As for the song list well we are still working on that one. As the girls build on their skills and confidence we see a much greater possibility of presenting a list that has real value and in time can be shared through this blog and their own social networks.

Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film FestivalWest Lothian Young Carers PartnershipFirefly Arts





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