Founders of the Poetic Relief Fund outside Black Cultural Archives Brixton

Poetic Relief Project

Youth employment and mental health project in Lambeth and Southwark receives vital National Lottery support.

A youth employment scheme, backed by The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK, launches in London to bring new opportunities for young people to find employment in the creative industries.

£360,000 of National Lottery funding has been awarded to three charities based in the heart of London to form The Poetic Relief Project. The cash boost is from The National Lottery Community Fund, which distributes money thanks to National Lottery players, who raise £36 million each week for good causes throughout the UK. Led by Poetic Unity, with support from Black Cultural Archives and Theatre Peckham, the partnership aims to benefit thousands of young people across the UK who have seen their chances of employment and mental health suffer because of the pandemic.

Starting at the beginning of August 2021, The Poetic Relief Project will provide programmes and services to support young people’s mental health, personal development, and community cohesion. The Poetic Relief Project will give rise to the ‘Cultural Leaders’ youth employment scheme which will allow the three charities to train and give 12 young people jobs in the creative industry every year for the next three years, where they will learn the daily operations of each charity.

The ‘Cultural Leaders’ youth employment scheme begins in September 2021 and young people aged 18-30 years old can find out more about this exciting scheme by contacting info@poeticunity.org.uk with the title ‘Cultural Leaders.’

Ryan J. Matthews-Robinson, Founder and Chief Executive of Poetic Unity, said:

“Poetic Unity has been at the heart of the community for the last six years, supporting and uplifting thousands of young people in that time. Since the beginning of the pandemic young people have become unemployed at an alarming rate and have struggled with their mental well-being. Fortunately, we have been able to support many young people across the UK during the pandemic, but we have still been restricted in the services we can provide due to lack of resources.”

“The Poetic Relief Project will allow us to employ young people on our Cultural Leaders youth employment scheme and provide more services for more young people than ever before. Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, we are excited to get started and work with our partners Black Cultural Archives and Theatre Peckham to continue to provide significant support for communities across the UK.”

Suzann McLean, CEO and Artistic Director of Theatre Peckham, said:

“The Poetic Relief Project will create opportunities for young people to learn with us as facilitators and participants of regular spoken word workshops. Following the success of the workshops in 2020, in partnership with Poetic Unity, we are committed to providing a nurturing environment for young people to develop their skills and express themselves, with a platform to showcase their work.

“The Cultural Leaders youth employment scheme will develop skills in facilitation and producing, equipping them with the paid experience at the beginning of their career. Our doors are open, and we are ready to begin this new journey with Poetic Unity and Black Cultural Archives as we support young people across the UK in the arts sector with paid opportunities for development and growth.’’

Arike Oke, Managing Director of Black Cultural Archives, said:

“Black Cultural Archives is the home of Black British history, and part of our 2030 strategy is to change the cultural workforce of Britain, to make sure that there are opportunities for Black people at every stage of their career. This collaboration with Poetic Unity and Theatre Peckham is a fantastic opportunity for young people to gain experience in our unique cultural settings.”

Abdou Sidibe, Deputy Director of Partnerships at The National Lottery Community Fund, said:

“We are incredibly proud to support this exciting partnership, which will empower young people across the country to improve their mental wellbeing and employment prospects.

“National Lottery funding is there to help people and communities prosper and thrive – it is thanks to players that we can fund this important work. We look forward to seeing the positive impact The Poetic Relief Project will make to young people’s lives.”

For young people aged 12-30, they can sign up to the many services and programmes brought to life by The Poetic Relief Project, which has only been made possible by National Lottery players, by following the social media handles for updates:

Poetic Unity can be found on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Black Cultural Archives are on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Theatre Peckham is on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

We all want to make it.
Make it in our chosen career. Maybe make it big.

Sometimes perhaps just make it to pay day.
But whatever our ambition, what unites us all is the desire to thrive, be recognised – and be supported.
And that’s what Lambeth’s Creative Enterprise Zone is all about. Supporting creative people to do amazing creative things without having to leave our amazingly creative corner of south London.
Because we all want to make it – of course – but more than that, we want to Make It in Brixton.

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