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Unlike many youth centres, SPACE use performing arts and creative education as tools to work with young people; by learning skills in drama, dance, music, visual arts and new media they develop personal, social and emotional wellbeing.

Established in 1997, SPACE is based in a purpose-built venue.

Describing the project, Kerry Gardzielewska, youth arts development manager said: “Young people in our local community are at the heart of everything we do.

“Throughout the year we deliver creative and performance opportunities for young people to get involved with in many ways whether that be on stage or behind the scenes.”

The youth venture was named the best arts project in the UK and awarded £2,000 at the National Lottery 2009 awards, beating hundreds of projects from across the country. Since then the project has grown significantly. The centre’s facilities now include a recording studio, performance area, extensive wardrobe and props selection.

Kerry said: “We know young people are facing increasing pressures both in and outside school; positive mental health and emotional wellbeing is something we are passionate about and we encourage our young people to talk about their problems to each other.”

Speaking about the support SPACE deliver to Savio Salesian College, Mike McCarthy, head of performing arts said: “The work SPACE does to support the arts in the local community and schools is imperative to the arts culture in this city, as well as in building and instilling a passion and creativity for the arts in our young people. Space gives our pupils the chance to experience theatre and the arts in a way they may never have got to do before.”

The team are now busy preparing for the Sefton NOW Festival, which takes place 11 and 12 February at The Atkinson, Southport.

Over two nights, performances written and produced by the young people will challenge the stigma associated with mental health, exploring the subject of ‘mental health and belonging’.

Tickets can be purchased from the Atkinson website:

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