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The Youth Village Limited

Paving the way for new partnership working

A new partnership between a community organisation “The Youth Village Limited” in Hulme and the Department of Contemporary Arts (DCA) at MMU Cheshire has already attracted a recognition award at the beginning of its collaborative activities. The Manchester Beacon Recognition Award recognises the complex nature of forging community partnerships between communities and learning organisations. The Beacons Project is managed by the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE) and is a national university network devoted to recognising, rewarding and building capacity for public engagement.

Our Manchester Beacon Presentation

The Youth Village Limited, a social enterprise led by Tony Wright, is based at the Hulme Hippodrome in Manchester and has embarked on a regeneration project for the area using culture, creativity and heritage as drivers. The Youth Village Limited aims to restore the 110 year old Hulme Hippodrome to its former glory whilst making it a cultural and community hub.

Our Cheshire community engagement

Through our relationship with DCA at MMU Cheshire, with their degree provision in music, popular music, music production, theatre, drama and creative writing, we have developed relationships with community organisations in Cheshire such as The Wishing Well and OCEAN. We, along with The Wishing Well and other community partners, are helping to develop the department’s community arts curriculum as well as its community arts research portfolio. We believe that DCA students will gain employability skills by working together with the relevant communities and we have seen that the impact of this type of partnership working in the South and East Cheshire area has been significant.

Our Hulme community engagement

The Youth Village Limited supports the development of intergenerational facilities for providing a wide range of holistic services and facilities for children, young people and families. These service hubs offer cultural integrated multi-generational services for bringing all generations together.

This helps to break down barriers between service providers and communities with a specific focus on the needs of young people. In addition, it will offer free subsidies and affordable services where disadvantage communities can get access to appropriate activities, information, advice and support.

The collaboration with The Youth Village Limited and the Hulme Hippodrome will allow the DCA to extend its community arts activities into the Hulme ward of Manchester. These activities in community engagement are long term and are continuously developing sustainability with students studying Community Arts and Arts and Design as part of their curriculum.

Our aims for engaging with University outreach programmes

In order to support the dialogue for developing culturally appropriate courses, we work alongside staff that have community arts as part of their research portfolio, whose remit is to reach communities and bring contemporary arts to wider audiences and also whose activities in outreach have continually attracted external funding from the Heritage Lottery and Arts Council England (ACE).

Carola Boehm, Head of the DCA: "The aim of this specific project within the partnership is to bring communities with a common interest together – in this case music enterprise - and thus be able to form sustainable and long-term activities involving young people and adults from the community supported by Higher Education organisations being to take the lead in developing their own enterprises, such as a community owned music label."

The project team look for individuals at various different stages of their learning journeys to be involved. There might be young adults who are interested in being supported to bring their innovative, entrepreneurial and creative ideas to a professional level. MMU Cheshire has students, who – in the roles of producers, sound engineers, facilitators, or entrepreneurial "mentors" - are interested in gaining experience of working with community groups in the context of an enterprise. MMU Cheshire has experienced students, postgraduates and staff, who - in the role of community arts researchers - support the learning, coordination and formation of sustainable community partnerships of this type

The Youth Village Limited have staff and volunteers, who - with their experience and knowledge in the rich heritage of relevant communities - can mentor members of the project and ensure that this project keeps its momentum, and is sustained over a long time period, in so doing developing social capital. The collaboration benefits both partners which can be described in terms of Widening Participation, Community Engagement and Community Development as part of Academic Enterprise.

Our Community Engagement aims

  • Employability skills
  • Entrepreneurial skills
  • Creative Partnerships
  • Community Arts
  • Access to Learning

The activities also allow new research activities to be generated; focussing on contemporary and performance arts based community development. Ornette Clennon, who initiated the partnership and who is a community arts researcher in the department at Cheshire: "In other words, our partnership with The Youth Village Limited will help us find new ways to develop transformational partnerships that can be sustained over long periods of time and that create additional value for communities. Our partnership with Youth Village generates research activity in the area of community arts/community development using practice-based and practice-as-research methodologies, of which the department is renowned for."

Both MMU Cheshire and The Youth Village Limited have recently become recognised Arts Awards centres. Thus the partnership is able to provide participants with Bronze, Silver and Gold Arts Awards, recognised by UCAS (Gold 35 points), allowing creative leadership skills to facilitate entry into Higher Education. A further exciting development is the addition of a Foundation Year programme that consolidates both our Arts Awards community learning into an access programme for DCA’s new Arts-led Community Practices degrees.