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Action! Story

Helix Arts Action: Story! is a new approach to the redesign of public services.

Helix Arts has developed a model called Action: Story! that uses participatory filmmaking to successfully involve service users in the co-production of public services. It was trialled with Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in Newcastle upon Tyne and Gateshead.

Funded by The Paul Hamlyn Foundation, the programme aimed to show that participatory arts and design offer a better way of improving the quality of life of marginalised young people by improving the public services they use.

The pilot CAMHS programme was a partnership between the North East Clinical Commissioning Group Alliance, Local Authority Commissioners (Newcastle and Gateshead), Helix Arts, participatory design organisation Roots and Wings, and social innovation experts The Young Foundation.

We are delighted to announce that Tom (see him in the film, above right) won "The Jodie Wilkinson Inspirational Award" at Youth Focus North East #PoSBOs 2016.

The PoSBOs were set up in 2010 to recognise and celebrate the achievements of young people and projects across the North East of England at a time when "ASBOs" were attracting so much bad publicity. Tom won the Inspirational award because he had been passionate about improving the lives of children and young people using mental health services.

'Young people got to meet and speak to commissioners about what they were going to do. We got to feel reassured and knew things were going to change.' Tom, participant.

'It's already had an impact. I've personally experienced different conversations with providers. It has challenged them and made them think differently about how they provide their services.' Dr Dawn Scott, Principal Consultant in Public Health, Newcastle City Council.

'The social aspect of the project has been fantastic, it's lovely that friendships have been made and the young people are meeting up in their own time, like any young teens should.' Mother of a participant.

'The group have bonded better than any other similar group I have been involved with and I think that is because of using creative activities to engage them. You can see that their self esteem has really blossomed. Some of them make their own way here on public transport, which they would never have done before.' CYPS worker.

If you think Action: Story! can work for you, please get in touch.

Read the CAMHS Review Final Report (pdf) here

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