Funding boost for youth arts

David Floyd on a new programme bringing the arts to local children and young people

A group of young people taking part in a local arts project in Barnet
Young people taking part in a local arts project – (Credit – artsdepot)

Thousands of young people in Barnet will get the chance to take part in arts activities after a partnership of local organisations secured half a million pounds in funding to support a new three-year programme.

The Barnet and Culture for Youth partnership, which is made up of over 120 local organisations, will receive £500k over three years from funders including Arts Council England, Barnet Council and John Lyons Charity.

It aims to support work with over 8,000 children and young people in the borough, with a particular focus on those who are excluded from mainstream education, home-schooled or have Special Educational Needs.

Barnet Post talked to Monique Deletant, the CEO of artsdepot, the North Finchley-based arts centre that is managing the project.

She said: “We’re massively excited about this injection of cash: it’s over three years and it will enable us to reach thousands of young people and help them experience creativity and experience culture – both in their schools and outside of their schools.”

The membership of the Barnet and Culture for Youth partnership ranges from large organisations such as the RAF Museum to the schools improvement service to individual local artists.

The partners have worked with artsdepot’s Young Advocates groups – made up of 14-21-year-olds in the borough with an interest in arts and culture – to develop a wider cultural plan which the funding will kickstart. As Monique explains: “In November 2022, we launched a cultural education manifesto for Barnet which we brought together with all those members and those young people, which set out our aims for five years until 2027.

“This is the first step in ensuring every child across Barnet has good access to music, dance, theatre as well as all the other performing arts.”

A key element of the programme is work in schools as Monique says: “We have artists residencies in schools, that’s where schools can apply to work with an artist and their young people to create new pieces of art work to explore a theme – or to put new plays on”

However, alongside working with schools, the partnership will also be working with young people who are home-schooled or are not in mainstream education. Monique adds: “We’re also working with the pupil referral unit. Those young people will have a longer term project to be involved in to help develop confidence.”

Helping young people to develop confidence is a key element of the overall plan as Monique says: “I think what’s really important to us is not just how provocative, uplifting and exciting the arts can be but also that it really supports confidence, social skills and wellbeing.”

Asked for a message to young people in the borough who are thinking about whether the arts is for them, Monqiue says: “My message is try it. You could find you really, really enjoy something new. This is a way of experimenting and a way of (hopefully) helping you find great joy, when the world around us isn’t always joyful.”

To find out more about the Barnet and Culture for Youth partnership go to:

For more information on joining the artsdepot Young Advocates group go to:

And to find out about events and activities at artsdepot go to:

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