The Young Coneys – the next step

Posted on November 29th, 2019

Photograph of a group of children grounded round a laptop on the floor.

Across the Autumn, we’ve been working on some new developments for the Young Coneys, our resident group of young change-makers – and we’re really excited to share them with you.

Thanks to funding from the Backstage Trust and generous individuals, the programme is growing, and we’ve been able to go into schools across Tower Hamlets, to deliver workshops and meet hundreds more young people. Here to tell you more about what we’ve been up to, and what’s next, is Director of the Young Coneys Toby Peach.

We’ve been running workshops in schools across Tower Hamlets over the past six weeks, meeting over 456 Key Stage 3 & 4 pupils, exploring what they want to change in the world and how they would persuade people to change their ways. We called it our Young Change Maker Training Programme.

Our team of facilitators, including, Dom Garfield, Brent Grihalva, Kirsty Harris, Anne Langford, Mel Phillips, Segen Yosef and myself, had 1 hour to deliver workshops to each school group. We played games on teamwork, explored the issues the group were passionate about, and created artistic ideas on how they would speak to others about it. Members of Coney HQ were also present in a workshops as this was an opportunity for us to meet new young people who might be keen to join the brand-new cohort of Young Coneys!

For those of you who don’t know, the Young Coneys are a group of 7-13 year olds who make things for others, especially grown-ups, to play, to spark change. The current Young Coneys are a crackly and creative group of 26 local young people and we’ve been working with them for the past 2 years since we created The Droves. They are offered a free, rolling education in play, giving them the opportunity to nurture their individual superpowers and use their creativity to change the world.

Creating a brand-new group is an exciting moment for the Young Coneys when anything could happen! After handing out golden invitation envelopes to the young people at the workshops we waited to see who would turn up…

In the end 28 young people aged 8-10 joined us for what we called the Young Coneys: Meet & Play, an opportunity for them to find out what the Young Coneys are and see if they’d like to be part of the new cohort starting in January. We introduced them to some of the games we play at the Young Coneys and then they had three masterclasses – on finding (and using) your voice, storytelling, and design. All the masterclasses were based on the themes of their own passions and what they wanted to change in the world.

After a pizza filled lunch we then created 4 teams to create a creative pitch for a project they’d like to run to the BOSSES of Coney (Becki & Tassos), and their parents and guardians. We had projects to get audiences thinking about rising sea levels, animal conservation, and knife crime – with ideas from a show taking place in a disused swimming pool with trapped circus performers, to a Noah’s Ark style boat trip!

It was incredible to meet so many young people bursting with ideas on how they would like to change the world. Their energy and creativity made me so excited about the future of the Young Coneys and I can’t wait to see what they might come up with next.

We’ll keep you updated on what they get up to next but, from what we saw at the Meet & Play, it’s going to be incredibly powerful and bonkers!

Find out more about the Young Coneys here – and if you’d like to support our work with young people, visit this page.

The Young Coneys are supported by:

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