25 March 2022

Talented 'Care Group' shares captivating film

A small group of talented young people from The Gordon Schools, Huntly, who have found new strength in coming together as part of a Care Group this school year, have shared a captivating short film.


The group, which brings together young people who are either care experienced, live with kinship carers, are young carers themselves or are LGBTQ+, has been so successful Aberdeenshire Council’s Virtual Head Teacher, Emma Allen is hoping to see similar rolled out across the area’s secondary schools.


Since the film’s debut, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland has approached the group to work on an installation for them. It is hoped they will be working alongside a music writer later this year.


Emma explains: “In terms of our commitment to The Promise and ensuring care experienced young people have everything they need to succeed, this is without a doubt the most effective example of something practical we can do to ensure they feel they have a place, a support network, a voice and the autonomy to choose and work on projects together. It has shown this can increase their engagement in school life and improve attendance too.

“The projects can help them develop their sense of self, their confidence and explore their talents, and this film project is an outstanding example. We are so proud of what Toby, Ellie, Dylan, Brooke, Dylan and Stephen have achieved.”


Young people have reflected on the fact they can share life experiences with the group, how they feel and “everyone gets it”. Their captivating new short film is the result of a Sounding Out project they chose to take part in with the Youth Music Initiative which is supported by Live Life Aberdeenshire and funded by Creative Scotland.


As part of this they were given the opportunity to use highly technical equipment to produce a music video with wildbird, with recordings of local sound and footage, as well as photographs. The pupils visited Huntly Castle, the River Deveron, Portknockie Bay and Cullen Beach to gain the footage and then hosted a 'Sounding Out' evening at Huntly Castle.


One group member, Brooke, took responsibility for approaching Huntly Castle to ask for permission to use the castle as a projection site for their debut screening earlier this month saying, “We feel the Huntly Castle would be a brilliant centre point as it is very much the pride of Huntly.”


She also explained: “This project has been a fun and exciting, quite interactive group project that we were all involved in facilitating, something new and very adventurous.”

Holly Robertson, who is a guidance teacher at The Gordon Schools has facilitated and nurtured the group since it started alongside pupil support worker Sharon Speirs. Sharon has played a crucial role in offering activities such as yoga and ensuring the young people always have a friendly face to turn to.

Holly explained: “Even when faced with disappointments like not being able to attend a panto the group has shown amazing resilience and come up with wonderful ideas of how we could use the time to gain other experiences. They arranged for a fire making session and approached Deveron Arts Project who organized a natural tie-dye session, they gave up their time to sing for residents of a local care home and have consistently volunteered at tea parties for the elderly in the local area.


“The Sounding Out project really gave them a chance to flourish and we saw the most amazing input from the pupils. The leadership, teamwork, confidence and resilience they have demonstrated is absolutely inspiring, the camaraderie within the team is outstanding and they are already looking forward to seeking out opportunities for next year.”


The group is being nominated for an Inspiring Aberdeenshire award, testament to their teamwork and talent.


View the pupils’ short film: https://vimeo.com/688916820


Find out more about what wildbird do: https://www.wildbird.org.uk/huntlycastle-tgs.asp


For more information about youth participation in Aberdeenshire, visit: https://www.girfec-aberdeenshire.org/home/children-and-young-people/get-involved-youth-participation-and-engagement-in-aberdeenshire/