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Young people from residential care homes in Leeds are shaping the Find Your Talent programme for Looked After Children across the city. The range of creative interests that young people have shared with us over the past six months reveals their passion for culture and a clear demand for opportunities to develop their creative skills.

All FYT Leeds work in residential care homes is developed in consultation with young people and currently includes keyboard and music lessons; a mini outdoor stage; drama workshops; textile and screen printing; and cultural visits to museums and galleries.

This strand of Looked After Children work is committed to providing cultural opportunities for young people in every Leeds City Council (LCC) care home and is delivered in partnership with LCC’s Out-Of-School Activities team.

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S-T-R-E-T-C-H were awarded a grant from Find Your Talent (Leeds) to work with a group of young people from care homes in Leeds and create museum collections from their personal belongings. The project was a great opportunity for young people to think about museum collections in a new way and included workshops in the care homes as well as visits to Leeds City Museum and the Discovery Centre.

Through these workshops participants gained confidence and were more able to communicate their ideas and creativity through the project that resulted in a final display piece Bad Girls Museum. They also gained Arts Award qualifications that are nationally recognised.

S-T-R-E-T-C-H is an arts charity established six years ago by Carlotta Goulden that works alongside disadvantaged groups, museums and gallery spaces. The York based charity founder was the workshop leader on the My Museum project, she commented that working with looked after children had been ‘really successful’ and is ‘something we feel really strongly about and have been really encouraged by going into their homes and engaging with them in this way’.

What was FYT?

Find Your Talent was a national programme to explore new ways of opening up cultural and creative opportunities to young people. Leeds was one of the ten FYT Pathfinders in England.

The programme was led by Leeds City Council and Education Leeds, working closely together and with the city's cultural and community sectors to find ways for more young people to participate in the cultural life of the city.

FYT was funded to operate between 2008-2011 but its legacy in Leeds continues through activities under the Breeze banner, as well as other initiatives.