Michael, 20, has lived at William Lyons House for just under a year. The team at William Lyons House (WLH) help young people gain life skills to help when they get a house of their own. They can also get help through the More Positive Together (MPT) service, to access employment, education and/or training.
MPT Resilience Officer Leanne, has been supporting Michael since last October and shares his story…
“I carry out a drop-in every Monday afternoon at WLH so that the young residents have a ‘go-to’ person there each week if they ever want to discuss anything. Michael has enormous aspirations– he is very interested in the arts and theatre and would like to pursue this as a career.
We came up with a plan of action:
First we enrolled Michael onto Maths & English sessions as well as sourcing a 4-week work placement for Michael in a theatre – However, we were hit with the 2nd Covid-19 lockdown in November 2020, which ruled out work placements as an option for us. So I looked into some sort of training that would incorporate Michael’s enthusiasm for the arts and theatres and found the Electric Sunshine Project. It was a newly-funded project for Blackpool:
“We are a collective of high-quality workshops, events, projects and performances, primarily produced in Blackpool, that seek to engage those who are least connected to the arts and which can be taken elsewhere.”
The course ran from February – June 2021. The first couple of months, the course was being delivered remotely due to lockdown restrictions.
Michael thrived on the course and even more so when face to face sessions resumed, held at The Old Electric in the town centre where all the students met up twice a week. Michael studied photography, artwork, DJ’ing, electrical aspects of theatre work, dance etc. with courses delivered by Blackpool-based artists.
During this time, Michael was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, which was understandably a shock but 5 months later and Michael has now completed the course.
His studies gave him a focus and he loved attending! He was always excited when he spoke about it and he made new friends as well. Michael has just achieved his Level 2 Silver Arts Award accredited by Trinity College in London. Whilst I supported Michael throughout aspects of his coursework, he did it all himself and he should be extremely proud of himself – I’m definitely proud of him.
I was lucky enough to attend the celebration event at The Old Electric venue, where Michael had the opportunity to showcase his work too; Michael produced lots of different artworks but the one he chose to display (pictured) was a clock he built to replicate the large Stanley Park clock, as well as the seasons changing within the clock face and he dressed it with flowers.
Michael has lots of plans for the future; he wants to start his Maths sessions, so I am meeting with him to get enrolment sorted.
Then, he would like to do a work placement in something theatre/arts related, which will hopefully give him the confidence to look for employment. He is very comfortable and happy at WLH, he is gaining lots of skills which are helping him to live independently.
If you think you could benefit from support from the More Positive Together team, you can contact them directly by phone, email or completing a self referral form:
Tel: 01253 477920
Search ‘MPT’ at www.bch.co.uk