CYA and their sofa were at Broadgate in the city centre to raise awareness of the troubling statistic that one in three young disabled people spend less than an hour outside of home on a Saturday.
Open Theatre Company provided the artistic direction to the ‘sofa safari’ performance dreamed up by CYA, and the safari element was made possible by Imagineer UK giving movement to the sofa through wheels.
All told, it was an attention grabbing event that disrupted the bustling shopping area’s usual Saturday happenings and propelled a group of determined young people straight into the spotlight.
CYA’s Lily explains: “We fight for disabled people’s rights… they can be kind of bored and alone and we want to change that. So people can get out more and be accepted and just make everyone feel they fit in.
“So we thought if we did this, it would get it out more so people would find out about it.”
And they have. A very big well done and thank you to all of you.
An early Spring evening in Coventry, the last Saturday of March. Crowds are arriving for a gig at a former coal storage bunker in the city’s Canal Basin, now a thriving music and arts venue.
But this is no ordinary gig – it’s months of hard work come to fruition to take one troubling statistic and make inroads into changing it.
This is the first Coventry Youth Activists (CYA) #CYASaturdays gig, a campaign aiming to challenge the fact that one in three young disabled people spend less than an hour outside their home on a Saturday. A day when most other people are out and about enjoying what the weekend has to offer.
The story behind the statistic tells how for some of these young people logistics can be the problem – wheelchair access for example – and for others, fear of the unknown, not knowing how to find the place they want to go to and what to do once they get there, stop the fun before it even starts.
So Grapevine’s youth democracy group set about doing something about it and everyone – CYA included – has been amazed by its success.
#CYASaturdays Presents SOLD OUT with over 100 gig-goers of all abilities coming to The Tin Music and Arts event on 30 March.
It showcased three acts, all donating their time for free, plus inimitable double act Rishard and Richard (referring to themselves as Coventry’s answer to Ant and Dec) compering the night.
Young people came from all over the city, finding out about the event through social media, events and meet ups and school mailers. Some came with family, others with friends and some had never been to a gig before. Three even got up on stage to sing!
One Mum commented that her son enjoyed the gig and for her “it was important as it provided an opportunity for him to be a 14-year-old.” And that’s the whole point really.
The CYA ‘crew’ wore their trademark yellow t-shirts firstly to offer a point of contact for anyone feeling unsure and secondly so they could rightly own the success of the night!
But they didn’t do it alone. So a big thank you to the venue, to the acts Izeidi Izeidi, Duck Thieves, Lily Hayes (from CYA), Rishard Beckett and Richard Walls. And of course, everyone who came and had fun! Until next time… [mic drop].
What do an 18th century former coal storage bunker and a group of young Coventry activists have in common? Well, they’re combining next month to host a live gig like no other at the heart of the city’s Canal Basin.
For those who don’t know, Coventry Youth Activists (or CYA as they’re known) are a group of young disabled people who want to say “CYA” to the inequalities faced by themselves and others.
They identify the issues that are important to them, give them a good shake and come up with campaigns that set about changing these barriers.
The #CYASaturdays Presents… gig on 30 March is one facet of their latest campaign to challenge the disheartening statistic that one in three young people spend less than an hour outside their home on Saturday.
The Saturday night showcase – on a Saturday of course! – features local talent in the shape of bands Duck Thieves, Izeidi Izeidi and CYA’s own singer/songwriter/guitarist Lily Hayes.
Lily says: ““I have autism but I won’t let it stop me from being a singer. It’s who I am and is part of me.”
The night will be compered by actor / theatre maker duo Rishard Beckett and Richard Walls.
The gig is accessible to all and tickets are just £4 in advance or £6 on the door. The venue is The Tin Music and Arts – a charitable organisation committed to fostering art, creativity and talent at the Canal Basin and throughout the city.
So come out and support what will be a great night as well as a good cause. There’ll be music, laughter and a few surprises and above all you’ll be making a group of young activists very happy! We want as many people there as possible who don’t usually get out and about on a Saturday too.
Kyla from the Better Lives project joined Coventry City Council engagement staff for a training day on ‘Co-Production in Public Engagement and Consultation Principles and Practices.’
Grapevine was offered a place on the course as one of the council’s community partners and Kyla can now share what she learned with the rest of the team.
Wednesday 21 November
Project worker Molly from Teenvine Plus and Warwickshire Empowerment Service has started collecting Christmas shoe boxes to donate to Coventry Open Christmas – a project that provides shelter and food each year to the homeless and lonely over the festive period.
Each shoebox (or alternative small cardboard box) can contain items such as toiletries, sweets, hats and gloves – basically anything that might help someone feel a little brighter on Christmas morning. Click the link above if you’re interested in joining in.
The weekly handicraft group at Bell Green Library taught her how – next on the list are tiny cardigans! Join in each Thursday from 10am – 12 noon (50p for tea/coffee). Michelle attends so she can make connections for people with a learning disability in Coventry who don’t use formal services.
Local photographer and friend of Grapevine Alan Van Wijgerden released another of his 50 one-minute films of Coventry people talking about what they’re up to – this time featuring Grapevine’s Melissa!
See what she has to say about how her health problems set her on a path to combining creativity and bringing people together in the shape of Feel Good Community.
Friday 23 November
Teenvine Plus and Coventry Youth Activists posted pics of their evening out on Thursday to Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market – looks like they had a ‘fantastisch’ time!
Read what Stay Up Late had to say about CYA’s recent stay to Brighton here.
Monday 26 November
Act Build Change founder Steph Leonard (and regular Grapevine trainer) is visiting to shadow and advise on our work on anti-isolation movement Connecting for Good – look out for a new video coming out very soon featuring one of the people we’ve met.
It is also the first day of a full team (Ben, Alex and Helena) working on the new Community Powered Advocacy service in Warwickshire.
This fresh and innovative service is aimed at helping people with a ‘vulnerability’ overcome their immediate problems, build their capacity to speak up for themselves and connect them to other people in their community. Watch this space as the team start connecting with other services and the people they are there to help.
Looking forward to seeing what the rest of this week might bring.
Last Friday’s Children in Need Appeal Show brought in £50.6m according to BBC News – taking the total amount of money raised since fundraising began 38 years ago in 1980 to over £1 billion.
Here at Grapevine Coventry and Warwickshire we are part-funded by Children in Need to run our Teenvine Plus and Coventry Youth Activists (CYA) projects to give young people with disabilities opportunities to forge friendships, build confidence and independence, and unlock their potential to live a full, happy life bolstered by a strong network and great experiences.
Thank you to everyone who makes this possible through their donations to fundraising – we couldn’t do it without you.
Here are a couple of quick glimpses into the fun and innovation that surrounds CYA’s activities… the first to mark their one-year anniversary last month and the second is their recent weekend away to watch a gig in Brighton.
This week marks 1 YEAR since CYA began 😲 In that time CYA has grown 8 times bigger, put on 5 major events, made it onto local radio 4 times & gathered over 400 followers on social media! We can’t wait to show you what we have planned for the next year 🙌 #CYASaturdayspic.twitter.com/2nC0sTBjBr
A group of young disabled people and their families are working together to design their ideal future upon leaving school, with a wider network of support that can help make it a reality.
‘The Big Plan’ started last week with the first of 12 sessions running until just before Christmas.
Each young person attends six of these evening sessions – either opting to come to the Monday or Wednesday group each week – alongside their families, and friends in many cases.
The first half an hour of each session brings the group together to share food and get to know one another. The remaining two hours are dedicated to building their plans through fun, creative exercises which consider their future potential.
Putting everyone in a room together extends their family and friends network to include the other young people, their families and their friends – most of them going through very similar experiences in life at the same time.
But Grapevine wants to boost those numbers even further to include ‘group supporters’ – people not previously linked to the young people who can offer a listening ear, draw out their all-important ideas and above all ensure their voice is amplified throughout the process.
Group supporters need to be flexible in supporting them in whatever way is needed.
The Big Plan is coordinated by Teenvine – the youth branch of Grapevine – and funded by BBC Children in Need as a project to help young people of 18 years and younger overcome the effects of disadvantages they face.
Could you spare a couple of hours one evening each week over the next few weeks (last session runs on 17 December) to help guide these young people through a period of transition and see them emerge on the other side armed with a big plan for a beautiful life?
Sessions run at Backhaus & Co at FarGo Village in Coventry from 6pm – 8.30pm.
If so, please call Chloe, Coleman or Molly on 02476 631040 extension 113 or 106.
This week marks one year since the first Coventry Youth Activists (CYA) session at Grapevine.
If you don’t already know, CYA is a youth democracy and citizenship group that raises awareness of barriers in society faced by young disabled people – galvanising their response as a campaigns group.
In just one year, they have grown eight times in size, put on five major events – including appearing at Coventry’s Godiva Festival for the first time this year – and spread the word further with four appearances on local radio. Over 400 people follow their Instagram, Twitter and Facebook feeds.
Their latest campaign is reducing the statistic that one in three young disabled people spend less than an hour outside their family home on a Saturday, often restricted by access to public transport and concerns over going out alone.
The first step for #CYASaturdays was holding an open Ideas Factory at Coventry city centre’s Herbert Art Gallery in September, where 26 people came up with six ideas to start tackling this issue.
The ideas – to be revealed during course of the campaign – included planning a trip to a gig together on, you guessed it, a Saturday.
The group also shared stories and came up with words associated with what a young person’s life should look like.
Words like “vibrant”, “well-lived”, “fulfilling”, “care-free” and “full” will now be added to the giant C, Y and A doodled by artists Melissa and Alan at CYA’s recent successful appearance at the Godiva Festival.
Here’s to another great year of “when I say C, you say Y, A!”
The TeenVine Plus crew have been up to some amazing things over the past couple of weeks.
Playing Monopoly Madness in Coventry City Centre, sharing tips to start a conversation with a new person – cheesy chat up lines proved popular and finding clues to complete tasks to find all of the pieces to the Staying Safe jigsaw. The group learnt about how they can keep themselves safe ready for some community activities next week whilst working on their social skills.
If you would like to find out more about TeenVine Plus contact Molly