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Our work with young people

Fairytale in Barrhead: young people donate handmade toys and planters to nursery

It was a fairytale finish to Creative Pathways Barrhead last week, as young people working on our employability programme donated fantasy-themed artwork and handmade toys to a local nursery school!

The group, who have been working at the ARC Centre in Auchenback, visited children at the nursery to present a handmade fairy garden and plant pots created from recycled wood.

They also taught the children how to make their o­wn fairies from glitter, string, wool and clothes pegs, while showing them how to plant flowers for their new garden.

It marked the end of a 12-week block of Creative Pathways, where unemployed young people have worked with artists Rosanna, Portia and Hannah on creative writing and craft projects, while getting help to find work.

Funded by the Big Lottery Fund’s Our Bright Future initiative and Barrhead Housing Association, the young people also learned more about their community, their environment and how to reduce waste.



For their final project, the group were set on doing something for the community. They decided to consult with children, parents and staff at the nearby Family Centre, asking them to vote on a range of ideas.

The winner was the fairy garden, and so the group set to work making things for the children using the creative skills they had developed during their time with Impact Arts.


Scott McCorkell, 17, is one of the participants on the programme who created pieces for the Family Centre:

“It’s been really fun getting to expand my skills, interact with new people and do something useful as well.

“It feels great doing something that people will like and that will actually be useful – it feels really fulfilling.”

Scott also spoke of how useful he found the project as a whole:

“I’ve learned how to make a CV, learned how to word myself in interviews better and also just generally becoming more confident. It’s been great.”



Frances Cathcart of Arthurlie Family Centre was delighted with the young people’s work.

“Our partnership with Impact Arts has been a great experience for the children.

“The planters the group have made are beautiful, and we now have a wonderful sensory area in the garden where children can learn and explore.

“The children also love playing with the little fairy garden, and making stories and fairies to play with.”



Heather Gault was Project Co-ordinator for Impact Arts on the programme. She says the young people’s work has paid off.

“I could not be more impressed by the work the participants have put in throughout the programme.

“The handover event was a brilliant day and it was so lovely to see the kids getting involved with making their own peg fairies and planting the sensory plants.

“The group and the artists should be very proud of themselves.”



Our next block of Creative Pathways in Barrhead, in partnership with Barrhead Housing Association, will begin in January 2019 and run for 12 weeks at the Dunterlie Resource Centre. More details to come...

Thanks to Barrhead Housing Association, the Big Lottery, Our Bright Future, Inspiring Scotland and the Scottish Government's People and Communities Fund for their funding and support on this programme.

North Lanarkshire young people dip into canalside history through digital art

In Coatbridge, young people are working with Impact Arts as part of a unique new project mixing digital art, employability skills and the heritage of North Lanarkshire’s Monkland Canal.

Fifteen unemployed young people aged 16-25 are working at Summerlee Museum of Scottish Industrial Life with artists Emmett McSheffrey and Sarah Hill as part of the Creative Waterways project.

Working in an environment steeped in history of life by the canal, the group will be dabbling in photography, filmmaking, animation and sound design, working towards designing an exhibition and canalside light show for Thursday 13th December 2018.

In the meantime they will be getting support from Impact Arts employability staff to work out what they would like to do after the programme, whether in employment, education or further training.

In the opening weeks of the project, the tutors have been encouraging the young people to throw themselves into creative tasks and get rid of the anxiety that can be involved in first putting pen to paper.

Timed drawing activities using chalk, felt pen, pencils and silhouettes were a quick way of getting the group expressing their own unique styles, getting the creative juices flowing and breaking down that initial hesitation.

The team were also introduced to the digital component of the course through workshops in Miksang photography, a form of contemplative photography emphasising an open way of seeing the world.

The weather and surroundings at Summerlee really lent themselves to this exercise, as the group spent a morning in the Autumn sunshine looking for colour, pattern, light, shadow and interesting juxtapositions.

Many participants were using a DSLR camera for the first time, and this was an opportunity to get used to its feel and function as well as getting them thinking visually about the world around them.

Scottish Waterways Trust are funding and supporting the Creative Waterways programme, and Claire from SWT also treated the young people to a workshop by the canal.

The group dipped nets into the Monkland canal to sample the wildlife living just beneath the surface, before identifying the creatures they found using a pictorial chart. The group discovered more than ten creatures and from this could tell that the water – if a bit smelly – was very clean.

“I think we’ve done the best because we’ve found the most creatures,” said participant Nina. “We need to come back next year to see what some of them have grown into.”

The programme will be continuing with further research into the history of the area and developing photography workshops. Much more to come as the group build towards the big exhibition in December!

Creative Waterways is funded by Scottish Waterways Trust, YouthLink Scotland, the Big Lottery Fund’s Our Bright Future initiative, Bairdwatson Charitable Trust, CashBack for Communities and the Scottish Government.

Young people crafting their future on Creative Pathways North Ayrshire

What will our futures look like? What if we could travel into the future to examine our own successes?

Young people on Creative Pathways in North Ayrshire have been examining this topic during weeks three and four of a 10-week block of our arts and employability programme.

The group have been working with artists Christine and Ruth, discussing utopian and dystopian futures, composing a “message to the future”, time travelling to their ultimate personal future and bringing back their evidence of their future successes.

The group have also been experimenting with materials and produced their first live project for a public event, taking place in Irvine’s Eglinton Country Park.



They were asked to transform hundreds of recycled milk cartons into lanterns for a guided storytelling walk. They created prototypes which they then pitched to each other. As a group, they decided to use a flower design, and worked together to meticulously cut out and assemble petals. The final piece was hung between trees, with lights woven through the design.

In other workshops, the team have been building and drawing abstract architectural still-life pieces, which is helping to develop their drawing skills. After gathering objects on a walk around the local area, they monoprinted their objects onto black fabric.

Week four of the project ended in an introduction to casting plaster, creating sculptural objects using sand moulds. This work will be developed further in coming weeks, exploring casting and printmaking in various applications.



As well as passing on a huge range of creative arts skills, the Creative Pathways course is about passing on skills that will help the group when looking for spaces in work and education.

Funded by Skills Development Scotland’s Employability Fund, they are working towards completing their SQA Employability Award and Steps to Work Awards. This involves them discussing their qualities, figuring out what they would most like to do in the future, and completing sessions on job searching, CV skills and mock interviews.

We still have a handful of spaces left on this programme, which is running 60 Bank Street in Irvine from Tuesday – Friday until mid December. It’s open to 16 and 17 year olds in North Ayrshire who are not currently in work, education or training. Participants receive a £55 training weekly training allowance plus necessary travel expenses.

If you are interested in signing up or making a referral, please contact Impact Arts’ Jamie Proudfoot on 0141 575 3001 or

Finding beauty in the unexpected: Creative Pathways North Ayrshire

A new block of Creative Pathways in North Ayrshire is off to a strong start with an inquisitive, enthusiastic and engaged group of young people taking part in creative workshops in Irvine.

The group - all aged 16-17 and not currently in employment or education - will be working with artists Ruth and Christine for 12 weeks, learning artistic techniques, creating artwork through experimenting with unusual and unexpected materials, and thinking about environmentally-themed interventions and installations.

Upon beginning the programme, the group discussed the concept of "the environment" and some specific themes: namely urban spaces, boring places, atmosphere, memories, and how to challenge stereotypes associated with the environmental movement (going beyond blue bins and co-called "greenwashing").

The team also discussed art and creativity more generally, and the differences between the two ideas. As participant Matthew aptly noted, “art is an expression of creativity”.

The group began by making marbled paper to use as covers for handmade sketchbooks, which will serve as a place for notes, doodles and records of their research out in the field over the next few months.

By the end of week one, the young people self-organised an outdoor exploration in Irvine to take pictures of details in the environment they find interesting. They decided an important consideration is the fact that the environment and place means something different to everyone.

The second week of the programme focused on quick practical experiments using scavenged and scrap wood. The group was given different briefs: make the tallest sculpture, the widest elevated sculpture, a sculpture with the most volume, etc. They then progressed into thinking about aesthetics: what makes something beautiful or ugly? Can this influence how people feel about a place?

Looking ahead, the young people will be taking their materials outdoors and seeing how they can use their newfound creative skills to transform local spaces.

We still have a few spaces on this programme! Are you aged 16-17 and not currently in education, employment or training? Do you live in North Ayrshire? Want to develop your creative skills? Want to earn £55 per week (plus travel) as you do so?

Participants will get invaluable hands-on experience of digital art, graphic design, photography and more, while learning about environmental issues and working as a team to organise a showcase and exhibition event.

Those taking part will also get advice on CVs, job-hunting, next steps, and have the opportunity to complete an SQA Stage 3 award in Employability.

If you are interested and would like to discuss the programme further, please contact Impact Arts Programme Manager Jamie Proudfoot on 0141 575 3001 / 07741 640 417 or email

Funding and support for the project comes from Skills Development Scotland, Our Bright Future, the Big Lottery Fund, Inspiring Scotland and the Gannochy Trust.

Young people in Barrhead get animated about social issues

Young people had another fun and inspiring week on our Creative Pathways programme in Barrhead, as new members joined the group to participate in a range of art activities and reflective writing workshops!

Artists Rosanna and Portia began the week by challenging the young people about what makes them angry and what issues they care about. After a short piece of personal creative writing – from getting woken up by the cat to annoying teachers from school - the group split to pore over newspapers and discuss the issues locally and internationally which made their blood boil.

The group were then asked to turn negative to positives and come up with messages they wanted to share. Following a presentation of charity adverts, the young people began designing a campaign about something they really cared about.

The next step was to create storyboards and write scripts to make short films to captured the audience’s imagination and encourage them to engage with the issue.

One group had a passion for animals and decided to tackle animal cruelty, while another group considered child abduction in Scotland and the third looked at environmental issues causing floods over-seas.

The rest of the week the young people designed plasticine models and built sets to start making their short films. We'll have more to come on the blog shortly...

Meanwhile, the team worked on their employability skills by considering what was important to them, and how they wanted to fuse this with the world of work, learning about different opportunities available in different sectors. They also made a start on CVs, by learning about how caring about different issues can help you develop skills and qualities in a wide variety of areas.

"I'm finding the course really interesting, because I'm always learning new skills," says participant Becky. "I've become more confident through talking to new people as well.

"I've enjoyed writing creative stories and getting to use my imagination through the animation work. It's inspired me to try everything, because I've enjoyed things that I didn't think I would."

We still have a few spaces on this programme, which is running until mid-November. The programme is aimed at 16-25 year olds who are not in employment, education or training. Find more information here.

Funding and support for the project comes from Barrhead Housing Association, Inspiring Scotland, the Big Lottery Fund's Our Bright Future initiative and the Scottish Government's People and Communities Fund.

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