Pontio open doors for local young people through National Lottery Community Fund grant
An innovative project providing local teenagers with something to do on weekends and during school holidays at Pontio, Bangor’s arts and innovation centre, has been awarded three years’ funding by the National Lottery as part of its Community Fund.
Working in a very dynamic and responsive way, the project, entitled ‘Yn y Foment’ (In the Moment) provides opportunities for teenagers coming in to the Pontio building to take part in creative activities of their choosing including music and writing, dance, circus skills and opportunities to work with the many professional performers and local practitioners visiting Pontio.
The idea behind the project is to open doors to new and above all enjoyable experiences, removing the usual rules and structure of more formal classes or organised workshops and just letting young people do things their own way and come across new experiences.
The project has received funding following a successful pilot over the last 18 months, which has seen over 230 take part in various creative activities.
Osian Gwynn, Director of Pontio Arts said,
“We’re still a fairly new centre, having only been open for four years. But over that time, we’ve been getting to know how the building is used by our community.
“One thing we’ve noticed is that young people from the local area use Pontio as somewhere to hang out after school, in school holidays and on the weekend. They may not always be here to see a film, a show or attend our youth programme BLAS, but because they like the environment and possibly feel that they have nowhere else to go.
“It’s natural that in some cases boredom can lead to challenging behaviour, so we thought we’d see what we could do about that – we’re a creative centre, after all, so we should be able to come up with creative solutions! So we started inviting those hanging out at Pontio to have a go at different things – not in a formal, ‘classroom’ type environment, or through advertised activites, but through providing spaces where they could be themselves, get to know the centre and its staff a bit better, and do things in their own way and at their own pace.
“Receiving this piece of funding from the Lottery’s Community Fund means we can now offer these opportunities more regularly.”
Pontio will now be appointing a co-ordinator for the project, and working with a number of community partners to point teenagers in the direction of other services they may be interested in, including where they can sign up to more formal classes or courses should they become interested in a particular artform, or for additional support with specific issues if required. Bangor University’s Psychology department will also be taking part by working with the young people to find out what they think of this type of activity.
Osian Gwynn added, “We’re delighted to be taking this next step with Yn y Foment, and hand in hand with our community partners and local young people, look forward to seeing what’s possible.”
The original pilot project ‘In the Moment’ was financed through Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) funds for reinforcing Welsh universities’ links with their communities, including social innovation.
Publication date: 20 November 2019