Arts Award Good Practice Centres with Chapel FM

8th February 2018 - Charlotte Brook

Chapel FM were named an Arts Award good practice centre by Trinity. We look at what went into achieving that and what it means for the young people involved in Chapel FM.

Chapel FM began life as East Leeds FM in 2003, a pilot project run by Heads Together Productions with students from John Smeaton Academy that aimed to create better links between the school and parents/families in the community. It could have been a one-off project but the core group of 30 people involved in the pilot were passionate enough about the project to keep it going, eventually moving to the Methodist Chapel in 2014 and relaunching as Chapel FM, the first-ever dedicated arts centre in East Leeds.

Just some of the skills young people can learn here include; developing studio discussions around key topics or arranging debates in front of an audience in the radio theatre, creating and recording a radio drama or taking part in practical sessions in music technology.

Chapel FM began delivering Arts Award only a few years ago but already they have been identified as a centre of good practice by Trinity. They currently have a cohort of 50 young people taking part in Arts Award, most of whom are doing Bronze, 15 carrying out Silver and the first ever cohort of 8 Golds.

In order to become an Arts Award Good Practice Centre, you have to have met many important criteria such as; having made strong connections with the community, have plans to reach more young people in the future or perhaps have a creative approach to delivering arts award. The idea behind this is for these good practice centres to inspire current and future advisers by sharing their experiences and top tips on how to be successful in their delivery of Arts Award. It is clear to see Chapel FM has easily met these aims, in particular, their community links are really strong as building community is at the heart of everything Chapel FM and Heads Together does.

'Since my son has been attending the short courses at the chapel his confidence has shot through the roof.

Throughout the course of the year a good practice centre will offer support to other advisers through a series of networking and advocacy events and will provide a voice for any developments that may take place within the Arts Award programme. Their input is extremely valuable to Trinity and through their outreach to other advisers and centres, they will be able to represent the Arts Award community fully.

All advisers will know that the resources page on the Trinity website, where top tips and stories are shared, has a wealth of advice on specific topics and some of these are written by each cohort of good practice centres throughout the year.

It is no wonder Chapel FM have been successful in achieving this status with students now consistently carrying out the top three levels through interesting and innovative art forms. Aside from all the other arts activities described above, opportunities to access high-quality studios and learning how to broadcast are extremely rare for young people and yet digital media plays such an important part of a young person’s day to day life. By gaining this experience, Chapel FM’s young people are becoming gold dust to the industry with many hoping to continue this into the future and as a career.

Chapel FM the power of words performance with a group of young people surrounding a microphone

To celebrate the 33 young people who have just received their Bronze award and their high profile as an Arts Award centre, Chapel FM had Layne Harrod, Arts & Cultural Officer from Trinity attend and assist with certificate presentations. Moreover, as well as celebrating the Arts Awards, there was a multimedia performance called ‘The Power of Words’ by young people currently taking part in the Next Generation Training programmes. The explanation behind the performance from Nik Rotherford was:

“What we choose to say, or to leave unsaid, can have momentous consequences. It can lose us a friend or a job. In some countries, it can get us locked up or killed. But words can also bring down regimes, give us the confidence to do amazing things. Speak up or remain silent? Tell the truth or spread fake news? The theme of words and their power to change the world has never been more important than it is now.”

Those who went along to the ceremony and performance commented on their amazing achievements and outstanding performance.

“Thanks so much inviting me to the event yesterday. It was a great success and I really enjoyed being at Chapel FM.” – Layne Harrod

“Since my son has been attending the short courses at the chapel his confidence has shot through the roof. Thanks to all at the chapel!” – Mum of one of the young people achieving Arts Award

“Both my daughters have attended Chapel FM – one has returned and the other wants to come back. What you do for the community is amazing! Keep doing what you’re doing and growing this wonderful opportunity for all.” –  Mum of one of the young people achieving Arts Award

“Beautiful performance. Such a great opportunity for young people to come together and showcase their talents. The amount of talent that the young people have is incredible, and I am proud for places like Chapel FM for being there to help them. Well done!” – Mum of one of the young people achieving Arts Award

We are really proud of Chapel FM for their Arts Award achievements and also for their incredible dedication to providing young people with great arts and cultural experiences. It is really amazing to hear that not only is it having a positive effect on them but in their community and in the home too.

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