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Young people to benefit from creativity project to boost school readiness

19 February 2021

Councillor Kieran Heakin at Number One Riverside.

Rochdale Borough Council and the Ragdoll Foundation are funding Heywood based Cartwheel Arts to deliver an exciting new project called 'Little artists: Big box of creativity'.

They will be working with 30 families across the borough to co-design an activity resource and art pack for children aged 2–4 years.

Working in partnership with Cartwheel Arts and The Ragdoll Foundation, the council is supporting the work to engage with families from different backgrounds who often experience adverse childhood experiences in their early years, are asylum seekers, refugees, Gypsy Roma Traveller communities or are cared for children.

The aim of the art project is to empower children to fulfil their potential, express themselves, feel pride in their creativity and have the chance of success that they deserve.

The Ragdoll Foundation is dedicated to supporting the creation, appreciation and awareness of imaginative and innovative content that reflects the world from a child's point of view.

The work will also support young children to be school ready, a key priority of the council.

Councillor Kieran Heakin, cabinet member for children's services, said: "This is an exciting new project that we're proud to be working on in partnership with Cartwheel Arts. We've done many successful projects that have been a real benefit to local children. We're committed to support early years' children to be school ready so they can thrive in a school setting, which is so important to their future. Children who take part in arts activities are 3 times more likely to get a degree so we're hopefully embedding in young children real future prospects."

This project will be child-led, responding to the children's engagement to tailor the activities to meet their needs. Their artwork will be pictured in the packs and their feedback will be featured, so that this resource will be representative of the groups involved.

Becky from Cartwheel Arts, said: "Previously, we have been commissioned by the council to develop another resource called 'Art for Induction' where we saw how important it was to young people to take ownership and have their work featured in the final product. It shows a direct link between their involvement and how they are helping others. We are excited to be working in partnership with the council on this project which will embed children's voices throughout the entire development process of the 'Little Artists' resource."

Over 24 sessions the groups will also develop key skills in socialising, imaginative play and positive relationships. The work will increase wellbeing, resilience and confidence in young people to take them into starting school.

Physical packs will be produced as well as being accessible for all online.

During the pandemic Cartwheel Arts have led on developing and distributing 6,000 'Get Creative Inside' family art packs to vulnerable children across the borough with Link 4 Life and the council funding packs.