Derby Youth Arts Major City Centre Event news. #ThisIsDerby


More than 1,500 young people across the city will take part in a day of art, sport and cultural activities, showcasing their talents and achievements in a vibrant takeover of Derby.

Derby has been identified by central Government as a ‘cold spot’ in terms of social mobility. A city whose young people are at a bigger disadvantage of their peers for many reasons, including poor mental health, lack of education and career opportunities, poor housing and high levels of drug-use. Some of Derby’s children have the lowest attainment levels at school in the country.

The impact of deprivation in Derby seeps into the core fabric of society- affecting health, education, housing, mental health, and crime levels and can lead to community breakdown. This comes at a time when knife crime, and cuts to children and young people’s services are at an all time high.

In 2018, in response to this crisis, a unique project was formed- This is Derby, a partnership project led by Derby County Community Trust, Cultural Campus, Derby’s Cultural Education Partnership and the City’s Sports Forum, sought to engage with young people across some of the most deprived areas of the city. In the last 6 months more than 10,000 regular visits by young people have taken place within the This is Derby project.

On Saturday 13th July This is Derby brings together over 1,500 young people, celebrating how these young people have come together to combat these issues through use of art, sport and culture.

Will Turner, Partnerships and Impact Manager for Derby County Community Trust, said: “This is Derby believes that every child and young person has the right to the best possible start in life, sadly experience shows that not all young people have this. There are many reasons- family breakdown, poverty and deprivation, poor mental health, domestic abuse within the family and inappropriate housing. All these issues and more, contribute to a young person not achieving their full potential at school. As children move through their school journeys, those children who experience a range of disadvantages fall behind their peers, in time this results in the widening of the social mobility gap between children from poorer backgrounds and their peers from more affluent backgrounds.”

This is Derby has identified where the need is greatest- the wards of Derby that the project is engaging with have 24 out of 25 schools with the highest proportions of free school meals take up in the city.

Will continued: “Working with young people in some of the most deprived wards of Derby, shows the desire our project teams have in addressing the social inequality that is present in our city. Our opportunities for young people to engage in are free, young person led and creative. This is Derby supports some of the most hard-to-reach young people in society, we have 10 community hubs made up of support, sport and arts activities and are firmly rooted out there in the local areas- buildings, parks, community spaces, places of worship. It’s a unique approach that really does work. Because we are reaching out to young people who may ordinarily find barriers to accessing sports and arts in more traditional settings.

Sarah-May Linley, a student at Murray Park School and who is involved with This is Derby, said: “He is a DJ and he teaches other people how to write their own songs. He also does other things like rapping, he makes everything fun especially music. He shows you how to make it play to you and he also shows you how to make it sound right because you don’t want a horrid sound. He also makes his own music he has been coming every Wednesday morning, Thursday afternoon. He also taught us the three elements of music and what they mean.”

Brad, a young person from Derwent Youth Centre and who is involved in July’s takeover event, said: All of the young people at Derwent are really looking forward to showcasing our work in July at the celebration event! We can’t wait.”

Many of the young people engaged with the This is Derby project are working with two ground- breaking and award- winning theatre companies to devise performances ready for the city centre takeover on the 13th of July.

The Paper Birds, a devising and verbatim theatre company and Curious Monkey, an international theatre company who specialise in bringing real stories to life through theatre, will be working with a range of young people for two specific pieces of live theatre.

The Paper Birds will be helping young people to co-create an original performance, ‘My Space’, this will explore young people’s views and experiences of social class, ownership, belonging and the theme of fairness. ‘My Space’ will be a unique mix of music, movement and breath-taking storytelling.

Curious Monkey will be working with young people from some of the most deprived wards of the city to create a theatre piece around the themes of growing up, place and the identity of young people growing up in Derby in 2019.

Derby County Football Club is the only football club in the UK whose community arm is working so closely with their Cultural Education Partners. It’s hoped that this innovative relationship between club and community will be replicated across the country, so that more young people can be helped to achieve brighter futures.

This is Derby city takeover takes place on Saturday 13th July between 3pm-8pm, Market Place, Derby.


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