Could MK’s ‘Young Creatives’ positive mental health programme find next Spielberg or Dench?

Thursday 13 December 2018

MK Council and MAKE, MK’s Cultural Education Partnership (led by Arts & Heritage Alliance Milton Keynes), are excited to announce ‘Young Creatives’, a new youth-led creative and cultural programme that could be the first step for tomorrow’s generation of artists, film directors or theatre producers.

The programme will be delivered by MK College and is designed to empower children and young people in Milton Keynes by supporting their mental health, resilience and confidence, as well as developing essential transferrable skills for further education, higher education and employment. 

A core group of 50 young people aged 16-18 will be selected from MK College and MK secondary schools.  The focus will be on teenagers who are struggling to engage with mainstream education, or facing disadvantages. 

During the programme, the young people will learn about the marketing, logistics, managerial and production roles required to run a successful creative event.  They’ll gain a better understanding of the cultural landscape in MK and beyond, undertake training and develop their own activities that other young people can take part in.  Through the project they’ll be empowered to take charge and make decisions - developing their leadership skills.  

The first group will start in spring 2019.

Students at MK College
Students at MK College

The Young Creatives project is supported with equal investment from MK Council (organised by the Economy and Culture team using Section 106 Skills Development funds) and Artswork, the South East Bridge. 

Councillor Moriah Priestley, Cabinet member for Economic Development and Community Partnerships, said, “One of our key aims is for MK to be a city of opportunity and we believe that this programme, which really engages with young people, will help us to do that.  Getting young people involved in arts and cultural activity will support them in developing the skills and behaviours they need for success.” 

“This programme builds the foundations for positive mental health amongst young people whilst arming them with the tools to support friends and peers.  They will learn how to work as a team and how to develop an idea from a tiny seed into a full-scale project.  So watch this space – there could be festivals, poetry slams, paint jams, take-over days and much more!”

Dr Julie Mills, Principal of MK College said, “The College is really excited to be part of this innovative and enriching programme that will strengthen the skills and wellbeing of our city’s young people.  The College will support 50 participants on their creative journey and empower them to engage hundreds more.  The Arts and Culture are such important aspects of creating a successful and cohesive community in which all citizens can thrive.  This project puts the power in the hands of our young people to create something special, that inspires us all.”

The project builds on ‘You, Me, Together’ delivered earlier this year, which looked at how arts and creative activity can be used to understand and support young people’s mental health and wellbeing.

A film about the ‘You, Me, Together’ project was created to raise awareness of mental health and wellbeing in young people, what it means to them and how it can be improved.  Click here to watch it.