Calderdale’s very own safe haven for children impacted by domestic abuse and violence is set to open its doors on June 9th and will help the drive to provide the next generation within our borough with the skills and confidence to seek out healthy, safe and fulfilling relationships.
EdShift @ The YouthBase aims to be a multi-service arts base catering to all children and young people’s emotional and sexual health needs across Calderdale, whilst also providing a safe and designated space for the youth of today to escape to in times of need.
Generously funded by the National Lottery Community Fund and its players, EdShift is set to receive £212,373 over the next 2 years to launch The Youth Base, allowing them to increase their capacity and move into their glorious new building in the centre of Halifax where initiatives such as SpotLight Intervention, The Nest Arts Therapy and WunderKinds School of Art will be available to those aged 4-16. Using creative methods, EdShift encourages a better understanding and offers coping strategies for the heavy thoughts and feelings associated with childhood exposure to domestic abuse.
130,000 children in the UK are living with domestic abuse where there is a high risk of murder or significant harm which is why it is imperative such provisions are available in our local area.
EdShift was founded in 2019 by Ellie Brook who has always had a passion for the arts and education both in her personal and professional life. Her strong desire and willingness to direct and empower adolescents through the freedom of expression is what led her to create a safe space, where children and young people can be themselves and navigate their thought processes.
Ellie said: “Art saves lives. If you ask someone how they got through their darkest times it’s often music, a favourite film drawing or dancing it out!
The healing power of the arts should be readily available to everyone, especially those who have faced trauma and abuse.
I see first-hand how the creative process can transform the lives of the children we support.
The bit of distance from their real lives enables them to gain perspective and experiment with alternatives and sends that very healing message of ‘You’re not alone and not to blame’”.
The SpotLight Intervention initiative focuses on two different age groups, 4-11 and 12-16, on a 1-1 basis with their practitioner.
The younger age groups focus on learning safety skills, managing feelings and building on self-esteem and empowerment while the older groups take a different approach and focus on topics such as sex education, healthy relationships and core beliefs.
The Nest Arts Therapy, run by EdShift’s Arts Therapist Georgia Griffiths, allows children and young people whose day-to-day lives have been impacted by domestic abuse to use creativity and materials as a form of expression in order to process and work through complicated emotions.
Arts therapy is completely child-led, and service users are free to discuss as much or as little as they’d like during their 1-hour session. Children are encouraged to be imaginative and have fun. There is no pressure to be naturally talented, arts therapy is simply the process, not the outcome, that is of the most value.
Currently, EdShift @ The YouthBase will be open Monday to Friday 9 am to 5 pm, with services being available throughout the school holidays. Referrals are accepted from West Yorkshire Police, Social Services, Family Intervention Services, and Schools and must be completed with the young person and their consent.
In response to the Cost-of-Living crisis, EdShift is also launching its pilot project, the BraveBox, in June, which will see 200 ‘Packs of Power’ be distributed to the police force across Calderdale. Each ‘Pack of Power’ will give the most vulnerable children in our area the resources and tools to keep themselves, or others, safe during this period of uncertainty.
The BraveBox has been generously funded by Community Foundation for Calderdale, and each box will include; a safety planning toolkit, emergency numbers, positive affirmations cards, worry buddies and a fidget toy.
EdShift will also be working with schools across Calderdale over the next year, aiding pastoral staff with vital safety planning skills and resources, to help keep those susceptible to risk in our borough seen, heard and listened to.
 (Co-ordinated Action Against Domestic Abuse, 2014)
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