At Project MotorHouse, we believe it takes a range of abilities and capabilities to build a strong community. We produce youth projects which are designed to help local youths explore their potential by widening their horizons, broadening their skill base, demystifying success, fostering their creativity and helping them engage with their local community; all of which improves employability.
We began our youth work gardening in the grounds of Ramsgate’s derelict old motor museum with local residents and students from Ellington & Hereson School (now part of the Royal Harbour Academy). Some of the students then wrote, directed, choreographed and performed a show called Bringing It Back, which was inspired by Project MotorHouse’s plans to save the building. The building has now been sold to developers but the youth work continues.
This lead onto Projection SEAS which was a large Heritage Lottery funded Young Roots project with students from the Royal Harbour Academy (RHA). We are now working on our second big Young Roots project called Harbouring Hopes for Ramsgate. This involves students from both high schools in Ramsgate, RHA and Chatham & Clarendon Grammar as well as the Ramsgate Society, Historic England, Ramsgate’s Heritage Action Zone and Pie Factory Music.
The project is designed to inspire young people to pursue a career in the heritage building industry. We want young people to realise that they don’t have to leave Thanet to earn a decent living; there are good, well-paid jobs to be had in the heritage industry and they can train locally.
We are also working on an Awards for All photographic project called Portraits of Ramsgate. Via the Big Give, we raised money to help us train up and run a Youth Steering Committee and a youth mentoring programme.
Our projects have the components identified by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation as producing good outcomes for young people:
- small groups with individual attention;
- the negotiation of programme content with participants rather than its imposition;
- flexibility of content to meet changing needs;
- staff who are skilled at communicating and negotiating rather than just ‘instructing’; and
- structured systems for assessing and rewarding achievement.
The quality of the project outputs is enormously important to youth participants. While volunteering is to be encouraged, PMH believes that quality is best ensured by professionals paid industry rates to deliver skills training.
Project MotorHouse delivers Arts Awards and/or UK Youth Achievement Awards on its projects.
“I am a great believer in an asset-based approach, where we focus on the strengths already inherent within the community. That is, we focus on what skills, knowledge and resources that we do have and can share rather than focusing on the things we don’t have. Your projects appear to be doing exactly that. Working with the community in this way is important. A wonderful ambition. Well done.” Tristi Brownett, Senior Lecturer in Public Health, Canterbury Christ Church University re PMH