Looking back at 2022… and what a great year it has been for LIFEbeat!
Our programmes in 2022 explored themes of diversity, community, mental health and wellbeing. Young people enjoyed a chance to try new creative activities and connect with nature, as well as meet new people and experience a safe, supportive community in which they felt able to connect and express themselves.
LIFEbeat Summer Camps
In August 2022, we held two of our signature 7-day summer camp programmes for young people across the country. This year, in a drive to expand our programme staff teams, we welcomed 30 new volunteer staff members attending a LIFEbeat camp for the first time. On average, participants rated the Camps with a 4.5 out of 5. Our evaluation data also shows positive results in our key indicators at the end of the programmes, with 87% of young people reporting high perceived levels of Self-esteem, 88% in Social skills, 92% in Emotional literacy, and 81% in Resilience.
“This was the best camp I have ever gone to and the staff have a way of making a community of strangers. Well done and thank you.”Young participant
“The amazing community makes everyone feel listened to and supported. Everyone was able to act as themselves.”Young participant
My son can’t wait for the next opportunity to join you. He was moved beyond anything I’ve seen. He’s previously attended residentials, but LIFEbeat emotionally touched him and he felt much closer to the whole group than I’ve seen previously. Well done all of you for creating and holding such an incredible space for our teenagers.”Parent
LIFEbeat School Arts & Wellbeing Programme
LIFEbeat is engaged in a mission to put the heart back into education, to create inclusive, engaged happy school communities and to optimise outcomes and opportunities for all students. Improved mental health and wellbeing contribute to improved educational engagement and achievement. Based on previous work in Somerset schools, in 2022 we were commissioned by Somerset County Council to deliver a LIFEbeat School Arts programme. The aim of this programme was to embed a whole-school approach to wellbeing, using creativity and arts to empower the voices and self-expression of children and young people. We partnered with 14 schools across Mendip and South Somerset to deliver the Somerset School Arts Project, across all key stages and trained a network of local artists and creative practitioners in the LIFEbeat creative wellbeing approach. Linked to the Somerset Wellbeing Framework, the project also supported schools in setting up their own student wellbeing action groups to embed the three wellbeing pillars; friendships & relationships, community & belonging, self-care & healthy lifestyles.
In total, we worked with over 1,230 children and young people in participating schools, all of whom have been identified as struggling with wellbeing and school engagement. Recruiting a team of 23 Creative Facilitators (including writers, poets, musicians, theatre practitioners, and craftspeople), schools were offered programmes where children of all 3 key stages participated in a series of creative workshops. In addition, over 17 teachers were trained in a whole school approach to wellbeing and in LIFEbeat creative practice across the schools. We are evaluating this programme with a view to codifying the model and replicating it in new regions.
“The students all were enabled to be fully involved and worked together really well. The relationship between the providers of the training and the students was quickly established and all were made to feel comfortable. None of the students opted out of any of the tasks. Great day!”Catherine Gray, Student Wellbeing Coordinator & ELSA at St Dunstans Secondary school
The project evaluation included feedback from students, facilitators and teachers; below are some key outcomes of the project across all participating schools:
- Participating schools gave a rating of 4 out of 5 on average when asked if the project had given them new ideas on how to better embed creativity and wellbeing themes into their school culture.
- 13 out of 14 schools signed up to the Somerset wellbeing Framework, and 10 out of 14 set up their own Student Wellbeing Action group.
- Students had the opportunity to engage in creative activities they may never have tried before.
- Students were given the opportunity, space and support to think about how they feel in themselves, their friendships and relationships and their community. This in turn allowed a space for them to express how the pandemic and the aftermath of the pandemic has affected them.
- Students worked together in mixed age groups, forming new friendships and memories of a shared creative experience.
- Teachers had the opportunity to learn new ways of exploring key areas of the wellbeing framework and different ways to create a “safe space” for their students.
LIFEbeat Community Gatherings & other non-residential events
Throughout the year, we have offered our young alumni opportunities to reconnect in person and develop their leadership skills, with Youth Leaders days in both London and Somerset in the Spring, Camp training for our Peer Mentors in July, and End of Year Reunions in London and somerset in December.
Our Partnership with Investigo in 2022
We have been very lucky to work alongside recruitment agency Investigo in 2022 as their Charity of the Year. Investigo employees have been involved in several fundraising challenges in 2022, raising a huge amount of funds that are still coming through to this day.
As part of our partnership, we have been delivering an exciting careers mentorship programme, piloted in the spring of 2022 with 10 young people from across the country, and with a second round for a further 212 young people taking place until February 2023. Each participant is paired with an Investigo staff member and a LIFEbeat Core Team member and receives three one-hour mentoring sessions to work on their career priorities.
In 2022 we went back to delivering most of our adult trainings in person. We held 7 in-person Creative Practice Trainings, two in Frome (February and March), three in London (April, June and December) and one in Brighton (November), and a 6-week Online Creative Practice Training in April – May. We also continued to be the main training provider for Somerset schools, delivering two 3-day Mental Health and Wellbeing RSHE Curriculum trainings (Spring and Autumn 2022) and training for the Somerset School Arts and Wellbeing Project. Participants rated our adult trainings with a 4.8 out of 5 on average.
“This course has gone beyond just ‘creative facilitation’, but also dove into personal developments, self-reflection, and has led to a shift in mentality.”
“I feel more confident about working with groups and holding space in a way that isn’t just about being ‘fun’ or entertaining”Creative Practice Participants
“I am taking with me the importance of connection and belonging, and the learning around Emotional Literacy – recognising our emotions and being able to vocalise and feel validated.”RSHE Spring Training Participant
As we come to the end of 2022, we thank all our supporters, staff, volunteers and partners for a wonderful year of programmes. Young people are the future and their voices, energy, compassion and agency matter. We hope that you will continue to be part of this LIFEbeat community to bring creativity, hope and vision to their lives.