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Being Creatively Active: Beyond the Selfie Project

Looked-after children have been expressing themselves in a unique project to improve their wellbeing via creativity – and now everyone can see their work as it’s on display in Pontypridd.

The beautiful photograph collage made by the young people in their Beyond the Selfie project is being shown in the window of an unused shop in Taff Street, Pontypridd, South WalesCachedImageCACAGPWL over the coming months.

Cllr Geraint Hopkins, Cabinet Member for Children’s Social Services and Equalities, visited the project today to see for himself the work that was undertaken.

He was accompanied by Anne Hayes from the Council’s Cultural Services Department and Matthew Free from the Council’s Looked After Children Service, who worked with the young children throughout the Summer to deliver the project.

Based at the beautiful Glyncornel Outdoor Education centre, the young people were given lessons in photography and how to use digital cameras and then focused on how to take more than selfies of themselves.

They are delighted their work is now on show for all to see.

Cllr Hopkins said: “We provide a unique and innovative range of services for children and young people who are in our care, whether that is in a foster home or a care home.

“Allowing them to learn more skills, express themselves creatively and give their wellbeing an overall boost through projects such as this is just one of those services.

“Evidence shows that the life chances of looked-after children are, on average, far lower than those of their peers. So we wanted to work with them, artists and youth specialists to help them express their views and emotions while also learning new skills.

“This project goes hand in hand with other innovative work from the Council, such as apprenticeships, training and work placements for looked-after children, access to leisure and sport and more.”

Beyond the Selfie formed part of the wider ArtsConnect Being Creatively Active scheme, which is using the arts to improve the wellbeing of specific groups of people across four local authorities in the region. Other RCT residents  also benefiting from Being Creatively Active include older residents affected by Dementia, who are expressing themselves through singing.

ArtsConnect is a collaboration between the arts services of Rhondda Cynon Taf, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Merthyr Tydfil and the Vale of Glamorgan and it is the first time that the arts services have worked together in this way.  The project was funded by a generous Arts Lottery grant from Arts Council of Wales, matched with local authority resources.