28 September 2018

Our September Member Spotlight focuses on London Youth member Haringey Shed, an inclusive theatre ‘where everyone has a part to play’. We speak to Ashling Foat, Company and Volunteer Manager about Haringey Shed’s current projects, future plans and their passion for youth work.

Q: What programmes do you run at Haringey Shed?

A: We run performing arts after school clubs every evening during term time along with holiday programmes in the holidays. We also create performance opportunities, deliver outreach in schools, create touring pieces of theatre and have a presence at local community events. We take trips to the theatre, train young people up into volunteering roles and also allow adults with disabilities to be supported into the staff team. When possible we take advantage to collaborate with lots of local organisations to educate, support and create inclusive opportunities for our families and young people.


Q: How many young people you work with?

A: We have around 300 members each year which attend our regular after-school clubs and then we work with another 1000 or so young people in ours school, touring and holiday programmes.


Q: How did you get into youth work?

A: I started volunteering at Haringey Shed and I completely fell in love with the work they do and the young people here. I basically then never left and now my career is completely young people focused – I wouldn’t work in any other sector.


Q: How does London inspire you?

A: London can be so inclusive, we live, work, travel, socialise with people who are all different to us and that is the way it should be. We still have lots of work to do but with so much opportunity, talent and diversity it is important that we get our young people to learn, access and take advantage of everything there is to offer.


Q: What is best about doing what you do?

A: Seeing a young person grow up through Haringey Shed and leave a better person because of it. Making what might be a small but positive impact on a young person and their family is worth everything.


Q: What is worst about doing what you do?

A: When we are not successful in engaging a young person or their family – when we cannot give them what they need but yet their needs are so obvious and having to pass them onto another service, in which you will not know how things go.


Q: What’s been most exciting this year?

A: We were recently commissioned by a primary school to create a piece of participatory theatre for their year sixes in which tackled safety around knife and gang involvement. We have learnt a lot about the current stresses and pressures on young people- the piece was really well received and the impact was very positive on those young people. We hope it will affect their decision making or empower their education around the subject for the better.


Q: What’s your next big project?

A: Summer Theatre 2018 is in full swing. We currently have 70 young people in the rehearsal space creating two new performances, one which will be part of The Great Fete in Alexandra Palace at the end of August, fingers crossed we create something spectacular.


Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d offer young Londoners?

A: Be a yes person, get out of your postcode and take advantage of all the opportunities that are available to you. Don’t be scared to show your talents and offer your thoughts, you are better than you know!


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