Building strong partnerships and embracing innovative collaboration with other charities and organisations is a core part of the philosophy behind See Change Films. We believe that in order to deliver training courses that can really spark a positive change, it is crucial to work closely with partner organisations and to understand their needs.
This week we talk to Emma Balogun, a Senior Practitioner at the Youth Offending Team of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC). Emma played an important role in our recent partnership with RBKC, when we ran a 3-month film-training course for young people involved in offending.
Read our interview with Emma to find out what she had to say about working together with See Change Films, and the changes she has witnessed in young people involved in our film-training project.
I’m a Senior Practitioner in the YOT team; I’ve been here for 8 years. I manage high-risk young people who have been in custody and who are in community on community sentences, and also manage other members of the team. We get involved when a young person offends and gets sent to court by referring them to where they might need help and by then supervising their order. This can mean one-to-one sessions, drug and knife awareness work, group work, working with voluntary organisations - we like to be creative in the way we work, and always try to make it fun.
I immediately loved the way See Change Films delivered their training. I got an opportunity to take part in some of their sessions and was impressed by the style and topics of the session, the friendly atmosphere they created, and the fact that although there was a lot of help and guidance, it was all very much led by the young people themselves. It was clear that the young people enjoyed the session, and also learned a lot.
We are always looking for activities that make the young people feel safe and respected, and we definitely got this with See Change Films. They always went the extra mile for each session, and young people maintained their attendance and engagement throughout the training. This comes down to their staff, who worked hard to listen to and include everyone in the sessions.
The variety of what we got from the project with See Change Films was quite amazing. We didn’t have a very specific end result in mind; we wanted to be open to where the project went. The initial idea was to focus on the themes of Black History Month, but along the way the focus shifted to looking at how young people are perceived in the courts, in the media and in the society in general. The group then went on to interview our staff and other young people at Intermission Theatre, and worked with Emmanuel from the PYE Project to create a rap about prejudice. In the end, we got much more out of the project than the film. Establishing links with other youth organisations that See Change Films brought in to the project was equally important.
It was great to see how committed young people were to the project - in the end they ended up putting in more hours than was needed for their order. During the process, you could see how the group learned to work as a team, and how individuals became more patient. They realised that others were relying on them; that they were part of something and very much needed. I particularly saw Lily’s confidence grow and improve throughout the duration of the programme and she was very motivated.
The final film ‘Spread the Word’ is brilliant, and just a wonderfully concrete end result of all the hard work the group put into the project. We definitely want to show the film to all of the staff here, and possibly to other organisations working with vulnerable young people - it’s a great example of what can be done through the medium of film.
To see the film being premiered at the Kensington Town Hall was lovely and quite touching. There was a strong sense of unity and teamwork - when the filmmakers got up on stage to introduce their films and then again when they answered questions from the audience. And it was wonderful to see Abdul’s and Tiago’s families there too; they clearly took great pride in what they had achieved.