Greater Manchester Violence Reduction Unit

Located in New Bury, Angels Dance teamed up with the local community and Raise the Youth Foundation on the Protect Project, a summer activity programme focused on exploring issues of conflict and restorative practise, to provide young people with the skills to prevent violence, repair harm and ‘protect’ young people from trauma.

Funded by the Greater Manchester VRU, experienced youth workers and dance teachers worked alongside young leaders, community volunteers and young people to choreograph dance pieces exploring the issues relevant to the community. Rehearsals took place throughout the summer, to prepare for the showcase where the story of the damage street violence causes was portrayed through performing arts.

Group of people dancing

Each week, young people choose a topic they felt was important to talk about and choreographed a dance based on that particular issue, this ranged from mental health issues to smoking to violent crime. The group then mind mapped how they felt about the issues and how they could work together to feel safer and reflect on why they felt a certain way. This was portrayed through dance, with young people choosing a topic to dance about at the showcase.

Dan Diamond, Greater Manchester Violence Reduction Unit Partnership Lead, said:

“On a personal note, it felt so good to get out to one of the many programmes sponsored by the VRU and witness first-hand the dedication and talent that exists in our communities by both the leaders and the young people themselves. Angels Dance put on a truly inspiring performance which was both sensitive and pertinent to the issue of violence and the support from the community was simply marvellous to see with such a great turnout.”

Resolution painting

Young people created signs to state what needs to be done to build a safer community to be displayed in the performance.

Through the project, young people were taught how to stay safe and educated on the conflict model – how conflict develops, escalates, peaks and then how to heal it based around restorative practice. They were encouraged to think about the impacts of their decisions for the local community, positive choices and how to make change happen.

At the end of the project, young people said they were pleased to be able to contribute thoughts and ideas on how to improve their local community and reported feeling more confident. The positive role models the young people worked with, will continue to offer support and guidance to the young people.

Article posted on: 28/09/2021 12:09pm

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