We Belong was a multi-session arts project designed to improve the confidence, social skills, and arts capacities of children in care. In addition, it sought to increase awareness among artists of the particular needs of children in care, and also to highlight for virtual schools the potential benefits of arts-based enrichment opportunities.
The programme arose from the observation that the arts may have particular affordances that could benefit young people in the care system, if they were mobilised appropriately. It also responded to a widespread belief that the care system could be doing better to meet the needs of young people.
We Belong was co-designed with a group of young care leavers and kicked off in 2019 with a range of in-person arts workshops and events. In 2020, we were forced to adapt activity to be delivered online in the wake of the pandemic. While this altered the shape of the programme, we were still able to offer a number of enriching arts experiences; utilising various digital platforms to engage young people in activities which emphasised self-expression, wellbeing, and creativity.
This evaluation report gives additional context, tells the story of the programme, and shares the outcomes and impacts for young people involved.