Creative YOUCreativity is everywhere. Opportunity is not. We are part of the solution. The secret is in our name. Every year Creative Youth Network gives thousands of young people a taste and thirst for the arts and culture and the joy, life-skills and opportunity they bring. But we want more. Creative YOU is our campaign showcasing how we, you and the engaged, emerging and amazing young creatives we support, come together. We want to reveal how, together, we are ambition, quality, cultural democracy and social mobility in action. Every young person deserves the right to access creativity and development opportunities in the creative and cultural industries. It all starts with education. If all young people have access to creative subjects in school, then talented young people from all backgrounds can pursue their passion, develop crucial skills needed in so many industries and improve their wellbeing. 1. Pledge Add your name and join the many people passionate about bringing creativity back into our schools. With all the pledges we’ll be reaching out to headteachers in Bristol and the South West. We hope this will encourage local academies to give more space to creativity in their curriculum. Bristol, being the creative city we know and love, can pave the way for other regions to do the same, showcasing the true value of creativity. PLEDGE 2. Sign up Join us by signing up to our newsletter where we share best practice of how to support young people. sign up 3. Find out more Join us by reading and sharing our CreativeYOU report which shows how our work brings opportunities for creative expression and enables young people to explore their talent, regardless of background or circumstance. Download our Creative YOU report About us Blog YOUTH VOICE: Saboor's Story – Never Give Up On 1st August 2021 Saboor fled Kabul, Afghanistan, amid significant unrest. Kabul was captured by the Taliban on the 15th August 2021. One year on, Saboor shares his story. Saboor is a newly arrived young person who is seeking asylum in the UK. He started writing this article during Refugee Week 2022. This year’s theme was ‘Healing through Community’ and he writes about his experience of coming to The Station, Creative Youth Network's City Centre Hub for young people, and the services, support and sense of community he has found at The Station and how that is helping him to heal. My Story My name is Saboor, I am 16 years old, and I am from Afghanistan. I am a member of the Welcome Wednesday and Thursday youth group at The Station, and the Young Leaders group, who try to create good and positive things for young refugees and asylum seekers in Bristol. The 10th January 2022 was the first day I came to England and I was in a very bad condition in terms of my mental and physical health. When I took my first step in England, I was telling myself again and again that the problems were over. But since I entered the UK by crossing the Channel, I had to interview with the UK police when I arrived. In this interview I was given the wrong age and so I was sent to a hotel, in the hotel those who are over 18 years old or with their parents live until the Home Office says whether they except you or not to stay in the UK. After three days I was sent to the Almondsbury hotel [near to Bristol]. I started living alone and I had no idea what will happen next and was very disappointed. As the days passed, I felt much worse and I had no hope. I was afraid of people. I was in a very dark place in my mind. I thought that nobody loved and cared about me. Until I found The Station. Discovering The Station Wednesday and Thursday started to turn into the best days of my life When I first went to Bristol Refugee Rights, they helped me in many ways; how to fix my age dispute, how can I get myself a lawyer, how can I learn English, and most importantly, they guided me to Welcome Wednesday, at The Station (Creative Youth Network). I went to The Station that same day and found out that it's a great place to learn and to socialise. On the first day I met the Manager, Emma, and she tried to create a good relationship with me, and I loved my first conversation with her and that's why I started to come constantly. It was the first time I experienced a good relationship since I arrived in the UK. The other staff Becky [youth worker] also cared and listened to my story. Becky also helps young people to cook delicious meals every week. The Station Youth Club on Wednesday and Thursday is for young refugees, and Wednesday and Thursday started to turn into the best days of my life. Because in my second week at The Station, Emma invited me to join the Young leaders' group, and the purpose of this group was to discuss how to provide better support to young refugees and asylum seekers on topics like mental health and social worker support. The young people in the group were creating great ideas, and I was very happy to be a part of this group. I love this group so much because young people can create things for themselves. [The Young Leaders group is co delivered by Creative Youth Network and Bristol Refugee Rights.] I started to feel better. I joined the music class with the tutor [Stu, Basement Studios] and started learning the guitar. This has really helped my mental health because I find this very relaxing but also I enjoy talking with my teacher about creating music and how we can relax our mind and body with music and why this is good for our mental health. After we play the guitar, we come together, 2 or 3 people, and talk more openly about our problems. Miriam [a Children’s Immigration Advisor] from Refugee Council comes to The Station every Wednesday and Thursday, she answered all my questions about the Home Office asylum application and this made me very comfortable, because I knew what I had to pay attention to in the future, I knew what path I was on, I knew how long I had to wait for what, and I knew what the government could help me with. And knowing these made me feel better, because I found my way and I was no longer wondering. Miriam answers the questions that give young people a lot of stress about the Home Office system and helps us. The Station staff try to support young people in the best possible way, they take the thoughts of young people very seriously in selecting their employees. In April I personally attended the interviews of those who want to work with young people at The Station and shared my thoughts, and comments just like the staff. Eid Celebrations It was one of my best days After Ramadan the staff organise an Eid party for young Muslim refugees every year at The Station. Eid al Fitr is an important celebration for Muslims. According to the traditions of our country, they had Afghan food, music, traditional sitting places to eat, Eid decorations. And lots of activities; table tennis, drumming, playing guitar, and they prepared a lot of other good stuff, and I had a lot of fun at the Eid party and made a lot of friends. At the Eid party for one moment, I felt very emotional because there were things from my culture, and it made me feel that people loved and cared for me. People caring for us is a really lovely feeling for the young people and I really felt that that day. It was one of my best days. This was helping me to feel better every day. And I improved my English at The Station and now I can speak English. And I’m not living at the hotel anymore. Mental Health Support One of the other things on offer in Welcome Wednesday’s (at The Station) that is important to young people is the support from Anna Kalin. Anna is a Psychotherapist and mental health expert. Most of the refugee youth coming to England are in poor mental health condition and Anna visits the Welcome Wednesday session every week at The Station. Anna helps them with many issues such as how to improve sleep, how the brain works, what to do in times of stress, how to get rid of bad thoughts, meditation, and its benefits. I personally learned a lot of useful and important information from Anna which has made me happier, because now I can better understand my brain and manage stress. City Leadership Programme And, with the help of The Station [Youth Work] Manager Emma Rigby I wrote an application for the Bristol City Leadership Program and I was selected as 1 of 12 participants. I spent two weeks in July at City Hall on the City Leadership Programme. The Mayor started this programme to help Bristol’s talented young people fulfil their potential. We learnt ‘What is Leadership?’ and’ What it is to be a good leader?” and lots of information on different subjects like writing CV’s, doing interviews, the power of words, mental health, how our brain works, relationships, politics, business, public speaking, and climate change. We visited the M Shed Museum, went shopping for clothes for work, and we heard the stories of people who have become leaders in Bristol. It will take me hours to tell you how great the other young people on the programme were. I truly had the best experience of my life, I learned a lot to understand and I will never forget these two weeks. Meeting With Leaders Right now I feel very good, very happy, and very successful As a Young Leader at The Station I have met a lot of venerable people like Princess Anne, when she came to visit to The Station. Alex Raikes, the High Sheriff, the Queen's representative Lord Lieutenant Peaches Golding and Deputy Mayor Asher Craig and talked to them about what we have been doing as Young Leaders to highlight the challenges young refugees and those seeking asylum face, and campaign for better services and support. And most importantly, I am confident in my heart that all the young people who join The Station will one day do great things for Bristol because of the lovely relationship and helpfulness that youth workers at The Station has maintained with us. Finally, the day I went to The Station and Creative Youth Network was my luckiest day in England because right now I feel very good, very happy, and very successful. A group shot of members of Creative Youth Network and UK Youth, featuring Saboor alongside Lord Lieutenant Peaches Golding and local dignitaries. You can read more about the ways we’re supporting young refugees and asylum seekers here. READ MORE: REFugees are welcome here Welcome Wednesdays Welcome Wednesday is a wonderful space for people who are relatively new to the UK and our city to connect with others, as well as our youth team – it’s been so popular that we’ve now extended it to an extra session on a Thursday too. For more info about Welcome Wednesday you can email [email protected], call 07864 920 409 or send Emma a message on Facebook. WELCOME WEDNESDAYs: LEARN MORE How can we help?