This week on the blog, we wanted to share the story of a particularly lovely project the Young Coneys took on recently: Codename Newbee. While we can’t see them in person at the moment, we’re still working regularly with this brilliant bunch of young makers and we can’t wait to show you what they make next.
More about that very soon – but for now, here’s the story of Codename Newbee, from Director of the Young Coneys Toby Peach:
The start of this year saw Coney start a brand-new group of Young Coneys who have formed Circle 2 (a circle is another name for a collection of rabbits, which we though was appropriate) to join our original group – now Circle 1.
Circle 2 have joined from schools in Tower Hamlets and are made up of twenty 10-11 year olds, after Coney undertook a recruitment process that reached 374 young people in Tower Hamlets to find young people who don’t normally engage in creative projects or had a spark for change making.
To welcome the new members, Circle 1 had been working on Codename Newbee (named by the group!), which would involve a gift arriving for Circle 2 on their first day.
A knock on the door, 30 minutes into their session, revealed a surprising wrapped box with a note inviting Circle 2 to open this with everyone sat around – and that the box would introduce them to the ethos of the Young Coneys (lovingly inspired from our friends at Company3).
Upon opening the box, a Rabbit shaped balloon rose out, which was quite a surprise I’m told, and inside were some more envelopes for Circle 2 to dive into.
Envelope 1 revealed a note introducing them to the first ethos of the Young Coneys – BE KIND. Here’s a section of the note:
Kindness is very important
We are kind to each other, the space & those running the sessions
We do this by treating others equally, listening to others and being on time.
We may disagree or be in competition at points but without kindness at the heart we cannot work or play together
Without kindness our other two values are not possible
We’ve sent you this gift to show you kindness
The gift was a bag full of sweets. Envelope 2 introduced BE BRAVE…
We want you to be able to take risks here
We want you to feel safe in taking those risks
We want you to not be afraid to speak up – especially if you don’t understand or don’t agree with something
And included a pencil….to pop the balloon!
Everyone else, you may want to put your fingers in your ears.
Envelope 3 introduced the third ethos – BE YOURSELF.
We know you were chosen to join the Young Coneys
You were chosen because you are you.
Give yourself a round of applause – Go on!
We were chosen because we are us too.
We want you to be yourself here and feel comfortable to be so.
You don’t need to pretend to be something you’re not here.
Be Yourself included a challenge to make Agent Cards – like Circle 1 had already done. An opportunity to introduce a little about what makes them! Here’s a picture of some of our Agent Cards.
After opening all of the envelopes Anne, the Runner of Circle 2, asked the Circle what they thought of their Gift and then Circle 2 made a group decision, which blew us all away, they wanted to show that they were part of the Young Coneys and respond to Circle 1. They decided they wanted to Be Kind, Be Brave & Be Themselves by sending Circle 1 a gift themselves – half of their sweets.
It brought a little tear to Producer Ellie’s eye! And Circle 1 certainly enjoyed the sweets too.
What happens next?
After four sessions with two full groups of Young Coneys, we have had to make the decision to postpone our sessions in person, which is extremely hard to do, but understandable in the current circumstances. However, we are still running sessions, remotely!
The Young Coneys had their first remote session a few weeks ago – with remote creative challenges to do at home on their own, or with their family – and we were so excited by the response from the group.
So, we will keep offering our young people an opportunity to be creative at home with the launch of our new project – the Young Coney News Network, which will be releasing episodes over the next few months. This will be filled with the news stories from the Young Coneys from their own homes. I think they’ll be full to the brim with play and entertainment for all ages, with a dash of madness too of course!