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  • Writer's pictureICM

Inspiring Journeys

Updated: Jun 20, 2023

“New Gen saved my life” - Y New Gen Participant

In our quest to make a difference in our community, we've witnessed incredible transformations and celebrated the triumphs of those who have embarked on their own creative journeys.

We refuse to reduce our participants to mere case studies; instead, we want to proudly amplify their stories and showcase their immense growth. It's time to grab a big fat metaphorical megaphone and shout from the rooftops, because these remarkable individuals deserve to know just how amazing they are.

At the heart of our mission is South Street Kids and New Gen, vibrant weekly media & music sessions that caters to young people aged 7 to 12 (SSK) and 13 to 19 (New Gen).

By creating a safe space for self-expression, connection, and creativity, we hope to empower those who might otherwise be left behind to fulfil their immense creative potential. Through engaging in "creative conversations," we provide a platform for young people to share their experiences and overcome challenges during difficult periods.

Our dedicated Youth Team team takes their work beyond the confines of our walls, venturing into the streets, parks, and community spaces where young people gather. By meeting them where they're at and building safe relationships, we establish trust and encourage their participation in our sessions.

South Street Kids learning to dance at Dance East.

Since its inception in 2015, our projects have positively impacted the lives of hundreds of young individuals, solidifying our position at the heart of the Maple Park and Norwich Road community. Through activities like radio, music, art, and drama, young people find solace and a voice to express themselves authentically.

But don't take our word for it.

Let us share some inspiring stories of our participants who have achieved remarkable growth and exemplify the transformative power of creative expression. Join us in celebrating their resilience, applauding their accomplishments, and honoring their extraordinary journeys of self-discovery.


Meet D (not their real name).

D joined South Street Kids after some outreach in Maple Park, although this took some time as initially it was very hard to engage, but thanks to the perseverance of the Project Coordinator D became a regular.

D has spoken with both the SSK Project Coordinator and the Session Leader about the difficulties in their earlier life, which included truanting and caring for younger siblings.

D has had issues in school with violence, once coming to a SSK session worried they might be kicked out, expressing it would make things more difficult for their family. D told us they were angry and that despite a lot of violence at their school they didn’t want to leave as they had made one good friend and usually struggle with friendships.

Developing these healthy friendships has been something South Street Kids has actively tackled, via Anti-Bullying sessions and ‘I am..’ sessions which included identifying and expressing kind things to say about ourselves and others.

After the violent incident at the school we reflected on other ways D could handle the situation differently in future, including walking away, deep breathing, or asking for time out and D admits they now deal with anger better than they used to.

Due to a couple of years age gap between D and many of the other young people on their road, when D first attended it was clear D had a lot of influence over the younger ones, and sometimes negatively. Lots of the younger ones would try and impress D; if they wanted to sit out of an activity so would they, so we decided we wanted to take a different approach and began instilling small responsibilities for D.

“I hate sitting in a circle. I’d prefer to do a job. I like looking after things and helping. I’d also definitely stay up to 13 or 14 if I could, to be a helper”

D also agreed to have a poem they’d written read out at the South Street Kids showcase earlier this year. D says they like being creative but when they're older they would like to be a vet, mechanic or boxer.

“I do like all the adults at SSK’re all well trained and understand us and I feel like I can talk to you.”

When asked about their favourite memory with SSK D says “My favourite trip was to see a show at Dance East. There were so many younger kids and I loved how much they could express themselves”

“SSK is good because you can see how much it makes them happy. All the little ones will be waiting on the curb and are excited to come on Saturday mornings. I like to get time to interact with other people to be honest . It’s fun, I’ve made my bestie through South Street Kids - he’s like a brother.”


Meet Y (not their real name)

Y joined New Gen in 2021 after meeting the project co-ordinator at a job fair. They had just completed a series of one-to-one music sessions thanks to a referral to aid their mental health recovery after a difficult period.

“I was not leaving the house, I maybe left the house once a week. I was petrified of everything and scared of people. It's the opposite of what I’m like, music helped me to get back to the real me."

Although initially struggling with social anxiety, Y was able to get a job at a local cafe which they say was aided by attending New Gen, which helped them to be consistent with weekly commitments and time-keeping.

As well as taking part in New Gen Y began volunteering with other local music and youth projects, saying “I think it's made me have more responsibility, which I wasn't used to having. It’s been good looking after others who need more care than I do, it showed me I can be trusted with things, I feel more mature and adult.”

I’ve never had such a confidence boost… I loved New Gen because the tutors seem like our friends with a level of professionalism but I never once felt condescended, patronised or as if they are acting if they know better. A good teacher makes you feel clever, not stupid, and when they made me realise I'm better [at music] than I thought it made me realise I'm cleverer than I thought. I’ll try and project this onto the young people I support as well, that if they are learning something new I want to make them feel clever”.

Y graduated from New Gen earlier this year, but has continued to stay involved with ICM as both a volunteer and a staff member.

Since graduating from New Gen, Y has enjoyed much success with their music - recording and releasing their music online, as well as playing countless gigs in and around Ipswich as a solo artist. We're proud to say that Y is an incredible asset to the community as both a musician and community worker.

New Gen saved my life” - Y

New Gen has proven to be a fantastic experience for my child. A safe space of like-minded people sharing a passion for music with no expectation. It has helped Y to develop their confidence, both musically and socially. The staff are professional and caring with an important and sensitive understanding of diversity and individuality mixed with fun!” - Y’s Mum


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