More than 40 organisations – from the National Youth Theatre to the Arts Council, the London Sinfonietta to The Goldsmiths’ Company – have already signed up to the council’s pioneering 11 by 11 partnership between the council, local schools and the cultural sector, which will ensure every child benefits from cultural and creative enrichment. The programme will open doors to new worlds of opportunity and help young people to develop essential life skills.
The list of leading national and local organisations spans the worlds of art, dance, theatre, literature, music, comedy, craft and more. Their commitments will change the lives of Islington’s young people, helping Islington Council fulfil its promise to ensure no children miss out on the wealth of cultural and creative opportunities on their doorstep, regardless of their background.
The programme, delivered in partnership with Islington Community of Schools, was given a colourful launch at King’s Place in King’s Cross on Friday, March 15. Islington pupils laid on samba, Shakespeare and poetry performances for the leaders of dozens of cultural institutions and Islington headteachers. This week schools will be invited to apply for 11 by 11 activities for the summer term, offered for free by the providers.
Cllr Kaya Comer-Schwartz, executive member for children, young people and families, said: “Islington’s thriving cultural and creative industries offer some of the best jobs and most enriching experiences in the world.
“We want to remove any barriers our young people might face which prevent them from taking full advantage of the fantastic opportunities on their doorstep, including the many and varied careers options in these industries.
“Every young person in Islington deserves these chances, and we are confident that the 11 by 11 partnership will provide life-changing experiences – which will wake creative talents, fire up imaginations and set ambitions.
“I know the programme has something to offer for everyone who takes part, enhancing essential life skills like creative thinking, communication, self-confidence and team-working.
“For some, these experiences could turn them on to becoming the artists, dancers, craftspeople, poets, musicians and technicians of tomorrow.
“I’m proud the programme has attracted so many world-class organisations, who clearly recognise the benefits of opening their arms to embrace – and inspire – the next generation of talent.”
The 11 by 11 programme is a direct response to one of the recommendations of the recent Islington Fair Futures Commission report, which called for more enrichment activity to support children and young people’s personal development.
The dozens of organisations will engage with pupils from primary school right through to Year 11, offering free tickets to performances, workshops, talks, tours, educational programmes and longer projects.
The National Youth Theatre (NYT), whose alumni include Bond star Daniel Craig and screen legend Helen Mirren, is offering acting career talks led by former students, and free backstage workshops to give a taste of careers including costume design, set construction, lighting and projection.
NYT chief executive and artistic director Paul Roseby OBE said: “It’s vital and aspirational for young people to know that life-changing creative opportunities are on offer in their communities.
“At a time when drama is in decline in many schools around the country, I’m encouraged that Islington is bucking that trend by committing to making outstanding cultural experiences a central part of education.”
The partners already signed up span the breadth of cultural offerings in the borough and the capital, including the National Youth Theatre, Sadler’s Wells Theatre, the Park Theatre, University of the Arts London, Arsenal FC, Angel Comedy Club, the Crafts Council, London Sinfonietta and The Goldsmiths’ Company.
Notes to editor
Click here for more information on the 11 by 11 programme, including a full list of partners.
The independent Islington Fair Futures Commission called for more enrichment activity to support children and young people to develop ‘skills for life’, as part of a range of recommendations to help make Islington the best place to grow up. This is reflected in the council’s new corporate priority to ensure that all of our children get the best start in life, and that our schools are places where all young people can learn and thrive.
Islington Council is also committed to helping all young people prepare for the future world of work by helping them to develop the right skills and an understanding of what career options are available to them.
These aims have developed into the Islington Pledge – a borough-wide call to action for businesses and cultural organisations to work together to ensure equality of access to enrichment activities for children and young people, particularly targeting those who are most in need and most disadvantaged.