We got to know some of the students from Dalkeith High School complex needs base through their shared interests in drawing and animation. We organised sessions in school with artist Emma Bowen, who uses stop frame and digital animation software to make drawings come alive. As time went on, they talked about being interested in setting up their own youth club.
Our work with Midlothian Council’s Autism Strategy allowed us to work with Midlothian Library and Barnardos, who as it happened, were already running autism supportive youth clubs in Edinburgh. They were interested in establishing a youth club in Midlothian which welcomed young people with autism.
In November 2017, we successfully applied with Midlothian Libraries to the Scottish Library Council Innovation Fund with Barnardos and have a year’s support to work with these students at Dalkeith High at set up a youth club. We will collaborate with teachers and families to find out what is required that works for the young people. Artlink will offer specialist tutors for the Youth club in subjects of interest such as model making, animation and editing. The youth club will take place in a local library, at a time to suit the young people.
We were fortunate to celebrate the achievements of one Au-some animator through funding from the National Lottery Year of the Young Person, who received funding to keep her involvement going – so that others could take part.
We’ve since been awarded a Shared Care Better Breaks award for a continued year of support for the youth club 2019-2020.