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Through the VRU funded Central Manchester Peace Together Alliance, Odd Arts, a charity that delivers theatre-based programmes that challenge and change attitudes and behaviours and enable people to understand themselves and the world differently, have delivered three projects over a seven-month period designed to encourage reduction in violence in local communities. Young people were given the freedom to choose the specific topics to talk about and the format of the work.

‘Phone’ is a short film that looks at themes of peer pressure, youth violence and social media and was written by Daniel Oyeleke. After writing a track that told the story of a young person affected by youth violence, Daniel was referred to Odd Arts and started having weekly 1-2-1 meetings with drama practitioner Jai. Jai supported Daniel to adapt the music track into a short film script.

Daniel developed a script, story board and full casting for this project and was able to secure an additional £1,000 in funding from Young Manchester City of Social Action Grant. Daniel liaised with the professional film maker and brought in other music artists and young people to support his project by acting, providing music, and supporting the story development.

The film has a very clear message – urging young people to reconsider their own actions early on. Daniel hopes that the film will be used as a prevention tool for young people.

“I have always wanted to bring up the awareness of how dangerous it can be for younger people who can’t speak up for themselves and be led into the wrong path. Somewhere where they didn’t think it would be bad until they are on their own during the path and are forced to make an important realising the danger ahead. This film stresses the importance of foreseeing danger and prompts a wiser decision for all the youth who are quick to “follow the crowd” or “impress friends” without thinking about what circumstances come with it.”

The film was showcased at a partnership youth event at Manchester Central Library with other youth led projects run by Hideaway Youth, 84YOUTH and Odd Arts. There was an audience of around 20, which included families of young people killed by knife crime, staff from the library’s archive museum, young people (personally affected by knife crime), youth workers, a representative from Young Manchester and VRU, plus other friends of the young people.

Odd Arts have been in contact with some of the young people that attended and are now running bespoke 1-2-1 sessions.

*Trigger warning: This film explores themes relating to serious violence and knife crime, with graphic content which some viewers may find triggering and upsetting.

For support, visit Contacts & Support – Greater Manchester Violence Reduction Unit (gmvru.co.uk)


Article posted on: 28/02/2022 10:02am

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