Case study

Credit: Paul Watt Photography

Take the Lead was a three-year project which worked with young people in North Ayrshire and HMYOI (Her Majesty’s Young Offenders Institution) Polmont from 2017-2019. The programme was funded through the Creative Scotland “Cashback for Creativity” scheme.

YDance worked in partnership with North Ayrshire Council to deliver weekly dance sessions across all 5 localities in the authority, as well as a Primary 7 Transitions programme and school-holiday qualification programmes. There were two annual Celebration Day events where the young people from across the local authority community groups came together for a full day of dance workshops and performances.

YDance also worked in partnership with Barnardo’s and the Scottish Prison Service to deliver weekly dance sessions in HMYOI Polmont which included the delivery of various awards and qualifications, as well as several celebration and performance events.

Using dance, the programme aimed to increase ambition and aspiration by building young peoples’ confidence and capacity, health and wellbeing, and developing the behavioural, social and emotional skills they need to engage and progress into further learning and employability. As part of their involvement, young people also had the opportunity to gain various awards and qualifications such as:

  • Discover Arts Award
  • Bronze Arts Award
  • SQA Personal Achievement Award
  • Sports Leaders: Award in Dance Leadership

Credit: Paul Watt Photography

In total, Take the Lead worked with 751 young people aged 10-21, of which 517 identified as female.

94% of all participants reported an increase in their confidence and their ability to try new things after participating in the project.

91% of all participants reported that their skills increased as part of the project.

91% of participants felt an increase in their wellbeing against the SHANARRI indicators* as part of the project.

90% of all participants reported positive changes in their own behaviour during and after their participation in the project.

Many of the participants commented on a positive difference in their mental health. Several participants stated that the sessions improved their mood after a hard day, giving them something to look forward to. Many also said that it was the only club that they did outside of school hours and that it gave them a sense of inclusion and friendship.

“I can’t express to you the difference this has had on [my daughter]. She has never been so happy and confident, and we can’t stop her at home. She is doing much better in school and her anger issues have completely vanished. We have never been so close, and she is able to talk to me about her feelings. I can’t thank you enough.” – North Ayrshire Parent

Take the Lead has given YDance the opportunity to further develop our work with disadvantaged and marginalised young people. The project has informed current staff training programmes and has also informed the planning and delivery of our new Cashback for Change programme.

Credit: Paul Watt Photography

Please get in touch if you would like to find out more about our projects or would like to work with us.

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*The Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014, which includes key parts of the Getting it Right for Every Child approach (GIRFEC), defines Child Wellbeing in terms of 8 indicators of wellbeing, known as SHANARRI: Safe, Healthy, Active, Nurtured, Achieving, Respected, Responsible and Included