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"I've laughed loads... I'm definitely more confident" - 36 days until Cashback!

36 days to go until our new Cashback to the Future programme kicks off! Today, we're looking at Jenny's story of being a participant in a similar Gallery 37 project last year.

Jenny, 15, from North Ayrshire, was referred by her mum onto a week-long Easter animation and performance project. Having had an illness which caused long periods of absence and hospital stays, she eventually left school at age 14 to be home-schooled. Her mum was looking for something that Jenny would enjoy and would get her out of the house. She was fairly socially isolated, and would not leave home for months at a time.

Initially, Jenny's parents had informed the artists she would be working with that she may need to leave early due to fatigue, and it was likely she wouldn't stay the whole week due to ill health. She was also shy and hesitant around the other young people at first. But after being given a taster on the first day of model-making and animation, she enjoyed herself and became noticeable more relaxed when talking to others around the table.

Jenny took the second day off as she wasn’t feeling well, but managed to attend for the rest of the week. She commented that she had only had a few hours sleep, but was having so much fun she didn’t want to miss any more time. She remained upbeat. She said: “It’s been hard for me getting up and coming all day. I’m not used to doing anything but its been well worth it. I’m having a great time.”

Jenny wasn’t sure about performing at first, but agreed to try it anyway. She took on the role of a chicken in a short film the young people created, “I’m glad I did it. Going out around Irvine dressed in a chicken costume and falling was both my highlight and a low light! But the whole thing has been really fun. I loved it.”

There was a very noticeable change in Jenny's confidence, with her seeming to grow more outgoing and positive each day. “I’ve laughed loads," she says, "and I’m definitely more confident now”.

By the end of the week she had swapped telephone numbers with the other young people and was making plans to meet up after the programme finished. “It’s been really good," she said. "This has been the first I’ve been out my house in months it’s been really good for my confidence meeting new people”.

The programme also fired up Jenny's artistic ambitions. "It’s made me want to do art even more, and it has made me realise that I can do it. I was nervous because I haven’t done anything like this since I left school, but now I’m more determined to do it.”

Cashback to the Future is coming to Ayrshire, Edinburgh and Glasgow this July. Impact Arts are currently looking for sign-ups and referrals. Follow this link for more information on taking part.

The free creative workshops are funded by the Scottish Government's Cashback for Communities programme which funds projects for disadvantaged young people through the proceeds of crime.

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