99% Campaign delivers its first award for positive contribution to the local community

In challenging negative attitudes about young people, a major part of the 99% Campaign has been about promoting and sharing the many positive contributions that young people are making to society every day. As part of this, we have begun to issue awards for outstanding or important contributions made to the local community. The first of these awards has gone to Vincent Sam, a 17 year old student from Thamesmead, for running several community projects, and going on to become a young advisor, graduating from Charlton Athletic Community Trust National Citizens Service (NCS). Vincent Sam helped to deliver a seven a side football tournament, raising money for The Rob Knox Foundation, and received countless awards and accreditations. Vincent stated: ‘I am very proud to receive this award, because it signifies that the positive steps that  young people such as myself take to contribute to the community are being recognised and rewarded.  And I am very grateful that Charlton Athletic Community Trust and the 99% Campaign have given me such opportunities to do so.’ The Award, came with a prestigious work placement through Luther Pendragon, one of the UK’s leading independent communications consultancies, along with a Certificate, and a mystery gift. Andy Carpenter, NCS Coordinator at Charlton Athletic Community Trust added that: ‘Vincent is an incredibly enthusiastic young man, a fantastic role model for other young people and has been an absolute pleasure to work with.’ Dr. Theo Gavrielides, Founder & Director of IARS, the charity that hosts the 99% Campaign echoed this, and spoke out about the importance of recognising contributions like this: “The last few months have been...
Art by Young Offenders – photos

Art by Young Offenders – photos

I recently attended an exhibition of Art by Offenders, Secure Patients and Detainees at the Southbank Centre. Through voluntary work and my time at university I have experience of secure children’s homes, estates and prisons.I have seen a large amount of amazing art work produced in these settings over the years, so with some arguably high expectations I made my way to the Southbank Centre to the exhibition. However, I was completely unprepared for the incredible standard, as well as the wide variety of artwork. There were oil, acrylic and watercolour paintings and various pieces of colourful, laboured over tapestries hanging proudly on the walls. In addition to this were sculptures, poetry, pottery and furniture made from recycled materials; which is even more impressive considering the restrictions to certain materials in the secure setting. The exhibition was overwhelming and clearly suggests that with the correct tools, resources, encouragement and facilitators the unimaginable is achievable. As an advocate for participatory arts programmes in prisons this celebration of creative work is very encouraging. The prevalent sense of release and freedom in the majority of the work was undeniable; from the paintings inspired by biblical references to the songs and poetry inspired by the artist’s own, often harrowing, experiences. Escapism is depicted in images of funfairs, beaches and a childlike model of a wizard’s house. This exhibition has cemented my belief that detention in the secure setting is a clear removal of freedom but should not be the removal of the right to learn or be creative, artistic and expressive. It is often argued that such participatory arts programmes in secure settings...