Our Impact

Since 2009 LIFEbeat has been using creativity to inspire the young people and youth workers we work with. To date we have worked intensively with over 2,500 disadvantaged young people through our summer residential programmes, day programmes and youth leadership initiatives. We have trained over 1,200 youth workers, creatives, teachers and therapists in our unique creative practice model which combines arts-based practice, experiential learning and group facilitation into a framework that enables those that work with young people to design and lead transformative programmes. We have also trained over 1,000 teachers and school staff in mental health and wellbeing and the RSHE curriculum.

Working With Young People

We believe the impact on the young people and adults participating in our residential camps is profound. Participants walk away with new confidence, communication skills, friends for life, and a belief in their own ability to lead and make a difference.

Youth Wellbeing Survey (Aug. 2023)
Youth Wellbeing Survey (Aug. 2023)

“The overwhelmingly positive feedback from all involved with the LIFEbeat Somerset camp speaks to a model which encourages young people to grow, develop and share in equal measure… Camp attendees not only leave feeling more positive about themselves and their own situation, but feel a passion and even a responsibility to disseminate their learning among the communities in which they operate.”

The Foundation for Social Improvement (2019), LIFEbeat Evaluation Report 

Youth Wellbeing Survey (Aug. 2023)

Our Young People's Stories

*All names have been changed to keep stories anonymised. 

Jack* first attended a LIFEbeat camp in 2022, after being referred by a London-based charity which supports children and young people who are struggling with social or emotional difficulties. They came back to camp in 2023 as a returnee youth leader. 

When asked about their experiences with LIFEbeat they explained “Community is such a vital part of LIFEbeat camps, that’s what makes them so special. You can feel a real sense of encouragement from each other. You feel it especially on Open-Mic Night.” During our 2023 camp Jack sang for the first time in front of an audience, partly because they “felt more confident” and also “felt supported by the community” that had been created.

“Unlike other residential experiences, the staff at LIFEbeat are much more intertwined with the young people. There’s less barriers of ‘us’ and ‘them’ but it feels like we are all part of the same group coming together. This is what helps build the community at camp because you can make connections without feeling patronised”.

Ash* first came to camp in 2022 and then came back in 2023 as a returnee. “Although I really wanted to go to camps, I struggle with social anxiety so found the whole experience of turning up really difficult. Going into a big group of entirely new people was a real challenge”. When asked what made them want to return the following year, Ash explained that “at LIFEbeat you’re around all of these open-minded people with different mindsets and it’s really refreshing. I found myself laughing a lot, and came home feeling really uplifted and confident in myself”.  

“Being autistic, it can be really difficult being around other people, especially those I don’t know so what surprised me about LIFEbeat was the fact that I felt that I could be myself and not be judged”. Ash expresses that when they “don’t feel judged or anxious, I am more able to provide support to others around me”. For example, they lead a workshop to both young people and staff on the youth-led day at camp, supporting their peers in having a rich and fun experience, in an inclusive environment.

Ellie* was referred to LIFEbeat in 2023 by a member of Student Services at their school, who thought that it would have a positive impact on their wellbeing. At LIFEbeat camps there are an array of workshops to do, from visual arts, to theatre improv, to song-writing. Ellie shared “At camp, it brings out your inner child. You end up doing stuff that you haven’t done for years and it’s so healing. There’s permission to play.” … “I don’t often have enough time to be creative so I really enjoyed some of the workshops. I tended to go to the music ones. I’ve been quite confident for some time but these workshops encouraged me to step up to co-host open mic! I tried to show people that it’s okay to be themselves… I even ended up leading a karaoke workshop on youth-led day!” Just by being on stage and encouraging others, Ellie demonstrated to all other young people (and staff) the beauty of being yourself, and how joyful it can be.

Amelia* first attended a LIFEbeat camp in 2019 having been referred by an LGBTQ+ youth group. They remember feeling the “sense of community really quickly” and said that “my first LIFEbeat camp was the first time that I felt fully accepted by everyone around me, not just my friends”. They have since returned to camp 2 more times as a young person and in 2023 stepped up to the role of peer mentor.

As a peer mentor Amelia assumed several leadership responsibilities in the community. For example, they co-facilitated discussion workshops in the afternoons, with topics including LGBTQ+, Neurodiversity, Anger, Self-Care, and Relationships. When asked what they learned about facilitation from this experience, they told us that they learned the “value of teamwork” with the other peer mentors. Joel* would plan sessions and prepare potential discussions, and I would deliver the workshop. It worked well for us to collaborate based on our strengths.”…

“I like to think that we created a safe space for quiet inclusion. We had a ‘talking possum’ (stuffed toy) that we would pass around so that all voices could be heard in the circle. Sometimes we would encourage passing the possum to someone unexpected and see if anything comes from that… Discussion workshops at LIFEbeat camps are quite good for discussing topics that we may not feel able to explore safely outside of camp.”

The structured group work during camps helps young people to build greater emotional intelligence and encourages participants to discuss issues of concern and develop greater self-awareness and increased empathy. Amelia  said “it can be really hard putting my emotions into words but LIFEbeat taught me that I can use other non-verbal forms of communication and self-expression.”… “I always come back from LIFEbeat feeling creatively charged. After spending a week playing instruments, drawing, and performing, I feel more inspired to express myself through creativity.” “I am able to take creative risks.” 

We have seen Amelia’s confidence grow over the last 4 years. At our 2023 camp they volunteered for the role of programme lead on youth-led day. Amelia explained that this experience helped them at their first job and they described feeling more capable of supervising their colleagues due to the skills gained from the leadership experience at LIFEbeat.

Impact Of Our Training

LIFEbeat delivers two strands of professional training:
1) Creative Practice Training
2) Mental Health & Wellbeing Training 

Creative Practice Training:
Our Creative Practice trainings are practical and experiential, designed to upskill and inspire youth workers, teachers, artists and therapists in facilitation skills, introducing participants to the culture and practice of LIFEbeat’s approach to youth work and group process. Find out more here. 

Mental Health & Wellbeing Training: 
LIFEbeat has been training teachers, PSHE & Inclusion leads, and school professionals to explore the curriculum of mental health and wellbeing and how it can link to a whole school approach. This training offers a toolbox of practice and strategies to help pupils nurture their wellbeing, and creative ways to enliven learning and deliver an experience of belonging, connecting, and inclusion. Find out more here. 

“Before attending a LIFEbeat residential camp, I took the Creative Practice training, which is a requirement for anyone who wants to be a staff or volunteer. I totally fell in love with it. I loved the concept and the way it worked for young people. It just lit up my life.”
“If I hadn’t done LIFEbeat I don’t think The Shared Plate would be here. That’s why LIFEbeat is so close to my heart. It’s shaped everything that I do. It’s shaped the way that we communicate with our participants but also with each other. We’re really passionate about creating mindful spaces and hearing everyone’s voice in the room, but also having a lot of play in what we do. All of that is inspired by our work with LIFEbeat and the real heart space that it creates.”

– Niaomh Convery (LIFEbeat Community Member)
Read the full story here. 

Niaomh Convery, 2021