On 2nd October 2015, the Jack Petchey Foundation held the Crystal Awards at City Hall, London to mark the 15thanniversary of the Jack Petchey Foundation and the milestone of having invested £100m into youth projects in London and Essex. In a special gesture to mark the occasion, £225,000 of grant awards were given on the night to 150 youth groups specially selected for their outstanding work with young people.
One group which received the Crystal Award grant was Razed Roof; an inclusive performing arts group for people with, and without, learning difficulties and disabilities. The group works with the belief that the performing arts provide opportunities to improve the quality of life for everyone involved. The Harlow based performing arts group used their Crystal Award to hire a venue to run drama activities and workshops within the community. The grant also covered the costs of a support staff team as well as some of the materials required.
The grant allowed the members of Razed Roof to work together to plan different activities which would take place through community-based workshops. The activities varied from running workshops for a group of young people with special needs, to delivering ‘Dance and Movement’ activities at a day centre for the elderly, as well as performing in and directing a drama activity at a community day. All the activities the young people participated in were working up to their final major production called ‘Brave New Food’. This was performed at the Harlow Playhouse, as well as at the Jack Petchey Achievement Awards evening in Harlow in June 2016.
The young people at Razed Roof are very proud of the achievements they have made through this project. Not only was it an exciting and challenging experience for them to perform on the main-stage of a professional theatre, some of the participants also received their Jack Petchey Foundation Achievement Awards for their work on the project. This project has given the Razed Roof members an important opportunity to experience the value of inclusion and to create ties with people from their community in Harlow. They have worked with people from a variety of backgrounds, ages and abilities, who they may not otherwise have met.
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