Thames Valley Police have granted funding to Black Sheep Collective which will enable our professional theatre director to work with young people in developing theatre in education (TIE) performances and activities, investigating the social issues young queer, black people and women feel most passionately about in Milton Keynes.

The production will be included in QueerAF (Arts Festival) Milton Keynes. A new multi-day, multi-disciplinary arts event, investigating and celebrating the experiences, narratives and creations by queer and/or black people and women artists. The production will also move around educational institutes so that students can engage and explore a range of topics, revealed by their peers and fellow youth residents of the city, in creative and insightful workshops and sessions.

The funds will also support the setup of a new, informal and community led counselling support service which will offer advice and guidance, connections and signposting and support to people in Milton Keynes’ Queer, Black and Women communities and tribes. These ‘Tribe Talks’ respond to recent closures of vital services in the city as well as direct need for support services to be both informed and led by, the very people they are designed to assist.

The Thames Valley Police Community Fund is to support VCSE groups and organisations to deliver projects and activities that seek to keep communities safe and prevent crime. Black Sheep already understands from their verified Social Enterprise approach that, creating spaces where issues can be explored creatively, risk-free and via artistic discovery, enable deep and meaningful connections between people, to be nurtured.

Black Sheep’s internationally recognised and award-winning methods and frameworks have consistently demonstrated the organisation’s ability to generate social value through the arts. This new support from TVP will increase resource, expand provision and empower people from minority communities and tribes to inform, design and lead these new projects.

“We are grateful for the support offered and indeed, we believe it is absolutely critical that public services such as the Police, are involved in community projects and support them in resourcing and development. Not only for the shared aims of crime prevention, victim support and keeping communities safe – but just as importantly is the opportunity for Police service to connect better with minority communities via organisations like Social Enterprises. Businesses where Stakeholder wellbeing and impact is central to the processes and procedures used. A Social Value Principle that has potential to be adopted or embedded further in local policing strategies.” (Directors, Black Sheep Collective).

The projects will be captured and evaluated under a Social Value Measurement framework, enabling useable and meaningful recommendations, plans and strategies to be embedded not only into the ongoing work at Black Sheep, but with a view to assisting the Police’s approaches to understanding stakeholder involvement.

More information on how to become involved in either the TIE project and/or the support network project will follow in QueerAF Festival 2024 announcements.

Links:

Visit: QueerAF

Visit: Thames Valley Police Community Fund

Follow on Twitter: @TV_PCC