Hip Ops & Hoodies Exhibition (ists)

We need your VOTE!

Our Giggle 4 Gold project has been shortlisted for the Heart of Essex Award run by the Essex Chronicle. I’m not sure how we vote yet but I’ll add another post when I do know as I’d really like to get everyone’s support. If we win the main prize we will be able to run a 12 week programme for people in a care home who are isolated and in need of some stimulation, espeically those with dementia. The programme is designed for this group in mind and will allow participants to be active, have fun, connect with others, gain confidence, self-esteem, learn new skills both creatively and socially and be heard though play and giggles. Over the 12 weeks we will also produce positive creative work which we plan to exhibit later in the year which will allow other members of the community the chance to walk in someone else’s shoes.

If we win the main prize we will run two 12 week programmes- Giggle 4 Gold and Giggle House which works with people who have experienced homelessness.

Both are such great projects that will be a whole lot of fun and will make a huge difference to the people we deliver it to.

The Giggle 4 Gold programme will be delivered in Brewster House in Heybridge, Maldon. If successful we aim to find further funding to enable us to repeat this programme in other care homes too.


Come and join our facebook page!

Cork Madness for Springfield Primary School Class JM.

Vote for your winning scene by clicking on the images then emailing info@mouldingfutures.co.uk with the title CORK VOTE and the group scene you are voting for in the body of the email.


I’ve recently been back to my old school,
And d’you know what? It really was cool.
It was mostly the same but weird for sure,
As I stood in the class that now has a door.
No doors on rooms when I came here,
Which made it hard – too much noise to hear.

This time round is much more fun,
And in the class there sits my son.
I’m standing proud, I’m playing teacher,
Showing off to the class I’m a creative creature.
I loved every minute; top marks I do rate,
And I wanted say – “class JM you’ve been GREAT!”

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Working with EYPDAS

We have developed a programme in partnership with EYPDAS (Essex Young People’s Drug and Alcohol Service) working with a group of young people affected by substance misuse and those who are at risk of doing so. During the course young people will be encouraged to take part in activities and exercises that aim to:
• Increase self-esteem and confidence,
• Develop social skills and connect with each other,
• Learn coping strategies to improve well-being
• And take a break to have some fun.
This is a 6 week programme and includes a drug and alcohol session.

This group has been identified by the staff of the Learning Support Unit at the secondary school who are working closely with us to ensure these young people gain the most out of this experience.

It is run after school once a week and includes a McDonald’s dinner – on the pre-evaluation one of the girls from the group wrote, in answer to “what do you think you will gain most from this group” – McDonald’s.

I’ll add more about this group at the end of the course with a summary of how it went. We have two more sessions to go and they have said they are really enjoying it.

If you know of a Secondary School who would benefit from a programme like this or something similar please let me know or go to http://www.giggletogether.co.uk – this particular programme is not featured yet but after this one has finished it will be added as a course.

Giggle Together at Alec Hunter Humanities College!

Our Giggle Together workshop had a good trial run today as we took part in the Alec Hunter Humanities College Skills day. Year 8 students spent the morning attending workshops on all sorts of subjects to do with Possitive Emotional Health including EYPDAS for Drug and Alcohol Awareness, Smoking, confidence building, Yoga to name just a few. We provided the laughter.
We delivered 4, one hour sessions working with different form groups of the year. What was interesting to me was the difference in reactions to our workshop within this year group. They were all the same age group but I noticed each form reacting different. Of course when you are willing to stand in front of a group of 12-13 year olds and blow raspberries, you do expect some strange looks. I had thought this would be dependant on age.
Our “stiff upper lip” persona certainly starts in secondary education with our strict rules and no-nonsense education system. There is no room for play. It was surprising to see just how results driven our young people are – even when playing.
Our workshop is all about play, being silly but with boundaries. It is great as a stress reliever and can often bring a group together. There were some “too cool for school” characters of course. My teenager inside started to surface for a second to sap away any confidence I had but the big girl in me was quick to get back in the driver’s seat. Going back to school as an adult is just as scary as it was when you were 12-13 if you allow yourself to go shooting back in time.
Now that I’m a big girl I have much more confidence. I have more of a “bring it on” attitude which is why I will blow raspberries at a class of 25 year 8 students to get their attention. After years as a Youth Worker, and having been a teenager myself, your best defense to those who want to shock you is to out-shock them.
So while I was laughing, then coughing up because I had a chest infection, then laughing some more – the groups got carried away with me. All managed to get into it except the last. The Drama Teacher who was helping me out during the session was also the form tutor to the last group. They found the whole thing way off anything they had done before. The teacher told me that his form were the ones that other teachers loved to have. They were the smart kids. A room full of left brain dominated young people trying to take part in a very right brain dominated workshop.
They made comments like, “well that’s not what my laugh sounds like,” “but it’s just not funny” when doing the laughter exercises that concentrate on the process of laughter and what your body does with each laugh. It’s a way to allow yourself to generate laughter without the need for an outside source. They didn’t understand because they all thought more literally. They reminded me of Jamie – my Autistic son. In the end I had to show them. I took a deep breath and laughed my breath out until I had no more breath, then carried on taking short breaths to keep it going. After about a minute I stopped, took a deep breath, looked at the students all staring at me aghast and said, “do you get it now?”. Finally they found this funny and were able to laugh.
I explained to them why they found it so hard – especially as their form tutor was embarrassed and kept telling them to stop showing him up. What it did in fact was illustrate the point beautifully about the left and right side of the brain.
I loved the day – even though I was ill it was amazing! I felt a real Buzz when I left and realised just how good for me – and for everyone – this kind of activity is. We’ll do far more good developing our programmes than we could with any other project.
I also heard on the grapevine from an EYPDAS worker that the students had really loved it too!

Inspiration for Springfield Primary School

When my son had to explain who his inspirational person was earlier this year it was extremely overwhelming to find that he had chosen me to talk about. He explained that “She is the famous best artist in the world and she makes me want to do art too” – Okay so he may well have me way above my station but that’s where I am supposed to be. I’m his Mum. I offered to go into his class and bring in some of my artwork so that his peers could see what he was talking about – or at least see that I can draw. They told him I wasn’t famous because I wasn’t on the TV but I went in hoping not to disappoint after such an amazing introduction. As they were talking about their inspirational people I decided to take in lots of different work – sculpture, poetry, illustrations, abstract paintings, my cork people from the tiny trail, Smile N Smooch characters, mini easel art, etc. A huge variety of different mediums and I based my talk around my inspirational person. My Grandad.

The class were all really great and very impressed by my artwork and my story. Jamie loved having his Mum in his class and was “helping” by holding up pieces of art. He stood by me with a huge grin the whole time and I felt quite honoured. I read some of my Silly Rhymes aloud to the class – the first time they have had a larger audience of me reading them. I really loved it! Teachers came in to look and his class teacher then made me do the whole thing again… and again… not just the poem (although I did read that several times – Smelly feet was a favourite) but the whole talk…

They loved the cork people and I agreed to go back in and run some sessions to show them how to make their own. Can’t wait!

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