A grant of £375,731 has been awarded by the Big Lottery Fund to West Yorkshire Playhouse for its provision of creative opportunities for young people with learning disabilities. The grant will fund the Buzz programme for four years enabling the Playhouse to expand its regular arts programme for young learning disabled people aged 14-25. Accessed through the Playhouse’s First Floor creative space, Buzz workshops and projects are tailored to meet the specific needs of young people with learning disabilities. They provide opportunities for participants to flourish, develop skills and gain qualifications by taking part in activities promoting inclusion, opportunity and aspiration through the arts.
Robin Hawkes, West Yorkshire Playhouse Executive Director and Joint Chief Executive said,
‘Providing access to, and creating opportunities for people to take part in life-enhancing arts activities is of paramount importance to the Playhouse. This grant from the Big Lottery Fund recognises the impact that Buzz has on young people with learning disabilities and their families and our commitment to this vital work. We’re thrilled that we can further our provision over the next four years and will be looking to develop the range of educational and work experience opportunities we offer through Buzz as well as continuing to provide weekly workshops at our First Floor arts space and with partners across the city.’
The Buzz programme was established in 2011 and currently there are three regular days of activity held weekly at First Floor. The Buzz Creative Arts Course is an accredited alternative education course which offers a formal progression route for young people with learning disabilities who want to pursue a future in the arts.
Buzz Weekend Sessions are workshops take place every Saturday and provide an informal setting to take part in drama, music and visual arts activities on a drop-in basis. The Buzz programme forms part of a regular body of work for people with learning disabilities including Relaxed Performances and Beautiful Octopus Club made by and for adults with learning disabilities, and a wide-reaching creative programme for young people, older people, communities and schools delivered by West Yorkshire Playhouse’s Creative Engagement team.