YDance (Scottish Youth Dance) – the award-winning national dance organisation for children and young people in Scotland and award-wining theatre company Glass Performance have been awarded £410,000 by Scottish Government programme CashBack for Communities for a brand-new arts project – CashBack for Change.

Starting late September 2020 and running until March 2023, the CashBack for Change project aims to use dance and theatre as a tool to engage and positively influence young people aged 10 -21 who are most at risk of displaying anti-social behaviours and/or entering the criminal justice system. The project will target young people living in areas of high deprivation and crime, those not engaging in mainstream education and in alternative education centres and those already in the criminal justice system at HMP and YOI Polmont. 

By providing free, weekly dance and drama sessions the young people will have the opportunity to build their confidence and resilience whilst developing core skills such as communication, team-working and commitment. Sessions will also encourage the participants to express themselves in a safe and supportive environment that will nurture their ideas and creativity whilst improving their overall health and wellbeing. Each year a celebratory performance event will be held to bring together the groups from the different local authorities to recognise and celebrate their achievements.

CashBack for Change will also include a programme of qualification opportunities for the young people including the SQA Personal Achievement Bronze Award, Arts Award, Sports Leaders Award in Dance Leadership and the Dynamic Youth Achievement Award.

The project is run by YDance (Scottish Youth Dance) and Glass Performance in partnership with HMP and YOI Polmont, Scottish Prison Service and Barnardo’s Scotland with activity taking place in Falkirk, Renfrewshire, Angus, North and East Ayrshire, Dundee, Stirling and East Dunbartonshire.

 Humza Yousaf, Cabinet Secretary for Justice said:

I am pleased to welcome YDance and Glass Performance to the CashBack portfolio for the next 3 years. CashBack is a unique and potentially life changing programme designed to expand young people’s horizons helping them reach their full potential.

“The YDance and Glass activities will use dance and drama to target those at risk of anti-social behaviour and I am sure this will be of huge benefit to all involved.”

Carolyn Lappin, Executive Director of YDance said:

“The award of support from CashBack for Communities recognises the work YDance does using dance participation to improve the lives of children and young people all over Scotland. CashBack for Change brings together two key youth arts organisations – YDance and Glass Performance – to deliver a wide-ranging programme which will benefit young people in the criminal justice system, and provide pathways for young people to divert their lives away from involvement in criminal behaviour and towards positive destinations and brighter futures.”

Jess Thorpe, Co-Artistic Director of Glass Performance said:

“We are delighted to be partnering with YDance to deliver a dynamic performing arts programme in HMP and YOI Polmont for the next three years. We are passionate about developing creative opportunities for young people in custody and using the arts to support them to explore new skills and work towards a positive and confident future. Working with YDance helps us to be part of a strong and connected arts sector and have a positive and long-lasting impact on the lives of those that take part in this programme.”

Lisa Hogg, Service Manager at Barnardo’s Scotland said:

“Barnardo’s are absolutely delighted with this investment and the recognition of how important working in partnership with the arts sector and a children/young people’s charity is within the Justice System. We look forward to working with both YDance and Glass Performance to support young people within HMP and YOI Polmont.  This programme will give young people opportunities to get involved in the arts, develop new skills, gain qualifications, increase their confidence and self-esteem, supporting them to make positive choices for a more positive future.”

George Ferguson, Head of Offender Outcomes at HMP and YOI Polmont said:

“We are really delighted with this investment into our Performing Arts Space.  This funding will enable us to continue and develop the good work we have already been delivering with our partners within the space.  I am continuously amazed at the what the arts contribute to our learning environment and working in partnership with Barnardo’s, YDance and Glass Performance will enable us to increase the opportunities we offer to young people within HMP and YOI Polmont.”

Visit the CashBack for Change page for more information.

Important note: Please be aware the images used in this article are from previous YDance and Glass projects and do not depict young people from the CashBack for Change project.