Open Minds but Silent Sounds is a creative writing project for young people from North Manchester aged 12-16 who are experiencing mental health difficulties.

The project aims to offer participants a tool for expression and to raise awareness of mental health in the territory. To deliver a substantial yet safe process, we will collaborate with professional poets, mental health experts from the NHS, as well as a mediation specialist to develop a flexible process that responded to the needs of the participants.

In March & April 2017 we piloted the project which was initially developed and supported by The Agency and ContactMCR (Contact Theatre). The pilot project consisted of an 8 week workshop process meeting once a week which culminated in an intimate sharing of the work created in the sessions. Over the course of the process we

engaged 20 young people who had all experienced different forms of mental health and created some
insightful pieces of poetry that we hope to have the opportunity to develop further with the goal of
creating an anthology to be released in the future. We hope that this anthology will work as a resource for people suffering similar issues.

We were also honoured to be joined by the Lord Mayor of Manchester for our final sharing, who handed out certificates of achievement to our participants, as well as shared some of his own experiences with mental health. Following this pilot process we were commissioned by HOMEMCR as part of their Project based on an arts programme to deliver a be spoke workshop for an invited group from 42nd Street, a charity in
Manchester that supports young people with Mental Health issues.

We have strong partnerships with; CAMHS.42nd ST, Odd Arts, Rathbone, Northwards Housing and educational institutions in the local community which we will utilise during the recruitment process of the project to ensure we are
engaging the young people who are most in need of a service such as this.

We aim to provide a creative outlet for young people to express their emotions and improve their mental state in the long run. Through research and my own personal experience, I have discovered that services for young sufferers are limited in my local area and generally reserved for young people at high risk. I want to provide a service for everyone, no matter the level of their issue and I’m hoping young people and their families and carers in my local area of North Manchester will benefit from this in the long run.

North Manchester

Northwards Housing is a not-for-profit ALMO (arms length management organisation) that manages over 13,000 City Council homes across the following areas of north Manchester.

North Manchester

The Agency works with young people from the Moston and Harpurhey areas of Manchester and the Clapham Junction and Battersea areas of London, in collaboration with Battersea Arts Centre and People’s Palace Projects.

Contact Oxford Road Manchester M15 6JA

Contact is where young people change their lives through the arts, and audiences of all ages experience exciting new shows.


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© 2018 by Alisha Loco; Open Minds But Silent Sounds

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