We don’t talk about love enough. Or relationships. Or even sex. Despite being a fundamental part of life, it’s still something of a taboo. The Her Centre and Tramshed theatre in Greenwich, London are seeking to challenge that with their social prescribing project, supported by the Thriving Communities Fund.
We visited their event for funders and partners, titled Her Centre’s Open Forum: Hear What We Want – Young People & Relationships to hear more about what they’ve been doing and how they are changing lives.
Social prescribing isn’t just knitting for older people, or gentle yoga in the park. It’s a very vibrant, practical and powerful tool that supports people of all ages. This project and their partners work with young people from 13-25, many of whom were attending the morning.
It’s fair to say that at times, everyone in the room felt a little uncomfortable. We discussed sex, pornography, domestic abuse, coercive control and more. But we also spoke about love, friendship, support, and what healthy relationships look like. Representatives from Little Fish Theatre, Her Centre, SafeLives, Youth Live Well, Volunteering Matters and Charlton Athletic Community Trust delivered engaging sessions that made everyone, of all ages, stop and think about the relationships they have and the relationships they see in others.
At its core this project is about raising self esteem and growing confidence in young people that they can have healthy and flourishing relationships, and have the ability to articulate what that looks like for them. It’s about giving young people a voice, and allowing them to be heard when they want to speak up about this important area of life, whether that’s speak up to a friend, on social media, to an adult, or even on stage through the drama work being done. It’s about ensuring that they not only speak up, but feel heard when they do, and like their thoughts and feelings are valid and their needs being met.
It was fantastic to see what’s being done in the community, and how genuine connections are being formed. It’s easy to say that we’re proud and humbled by the work that the VCSE sector is doing for people through social prescribing, but in this case, it’s entirely true.