Made in Birkby: Creative Families Enterprise Programme

Originally published in 2012, Made in Birkby is a case study of a project that aimed to take a group of families being supported by the Children and Young People’s Service of Kirklees Council and improve their employability via an arts enterprise project.

The Creative Families (Enterprise) Easter 2012 Programme in Birkby was funded by Birkby Nursery and Infant School, Birkby Junior School and the Children and Young People’s Service of Kirklees Council; it was managed in partnership with CapeUK (now known as IVE). The primary partners were the two schools and the Annie Smith Children’s Centre.

The need to focus on enterprise was initially identified by the head teacher of the Nursery and Infant School as a means of providing a progression route for families that they had been supporting for some time. Both the Nursery and Infant School and the Children’s Centre were also conscious of the impact on families of changes to the benefit system. The transfer from Income Support to Job Seekers Allowance means that parents will need to engage more with the world of work.

30 families were identified by the primary partners as likely to benefit from the scheme. The reasons for their selection were varied; several had dual care orders and some parents were dealing with social, emotional or health difficulties. The selected families were invited to participate and then encouraged to commit to doing so over a period of several weeks. ‘Getting to know you’ sessions were held in the schools in the week prior to the main programme; these were well attended in one school but not the other.

The main programme ran for four consecutive days from Monday 2nd April to Thursday 5th April. It was located at Birkby and Fartown Community Centre which is adjacent to the Junior School, a short walk from the Children’s Centre and about a mile from the Nursery and Infants School. During the first three days, families moved between a range of craft, cooking (indoors and outdoors) and drumming activities focusing increasingly on producing the stock for, and organising, a ‘Family Festival’ on the fourth day. The Family Festival attracted 250 visitors and generated £219. The participating families received a certificate recognising their contribution and a ‘goody bag’ of materials to enable them to continue some of the activities at home.

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