Working in partnership with Hangleton & Knoll Project and Trust for Developing Communities we challenged young people aged 12-21 to conduct community research and deliver a social action project based on their findings.

Beginning in Hangleton, the group developed their knowledge of local arts events. They volunteered at Hove Park Arts Festival, conducting research with visitors and taking part in a workshop to produce banners for the day. The East Brighton group conducted an online survey to find out what people thought about the community and area. They volunteered at Our Place events as part of Brighton Festival, stewarding and researching the impact of the arts on their community, with two of our group also performing on stage.

BBC Radio Sussex cover events including Our Place, and this year they decided to let communities take control of the programming. Young Leader Jasmine worked with producers to write the script, then interviewed the Our Place steering group, residents and artists about how arts and culture affect the area. 

Young girl enjoying work experience at radio station
Community Ambassador Programme, Brighton & Hove
“... it was great seeing what goes into the planning of a show. Doing the radio show is probably something that I will never forget. I hope to do more radio stuff in the future”
A young boy and girl painting on t-shirts outside
Community Ambassador Programme, Brighton & Hove

Their research in Hangleton showed that people want a permanent local arts space with regular activities for young people – they felt there was a general lack of affordable, accessible and local creative activities. The research in East Brighton showed that people want their public spaces to feel better cared for and to reduce anti-social behaviour.

In response to their research, the East Brighton group identified an underpass that is run down and attracts anti-social behaviour. They were interested in how it could be visually transformed to make it a more welcoming space. They hosted a workshop for a Fun Palace event at The Bevy using film and photography to interview local people about the issues and challenges of this space, but also what they really value about the area. The event celebrated ‘What we love in our community’ and aimed to help people to see and use their spaces differently.

The group have now identified a local committee focused on improving the underpass with new lighting and redecoration. They will be joining the group and taking an edited version of their film to help inform the group about local people’s views. They aim to play a key role in shaping the visual transformation of the space and it’s decoration for, by and with local residents.In Hangleton the group ran a free fun day in the park in August with stalls, games and an arts & crafts tent. Over 100 people enjoyed free activities including t-shirt tie dying, glitter tattoos and card making. Young people fundraised for the event, to make it free and accessible, with free food also on offer, so people enjoyed hot dogs, candy floss and popcorn on the day.

In October they ran a Fun Palace event for young people to get involved in arts activities. They ran a stop motion workshop, and a karaoke activity alongside other members of the community of different ages, who were running different workshops and sharing a variety of skills. The group will be joining a steering group for a permanent community centre being built in Hangleton, and will influence arts programming for young people.

All our Community Ambassadors successfully completed a Social Action digital badge, one of the very first badges to be issued as part of the Brighton & Hove Cities of Learning.