Future is Now (2021/22) is a project working with young people to raise awareness of Childhood Criminal Exploitation through creative activity. The programme has been developed after the success of the Hopes and Dreams pilot project which was held in two schools between November 2020 and March 2021.

Severn Arts are working in partnership with Worcestershire County Council, with funding from West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion, the South Worcestershire Community Safety Partnership and The Children’s Society to deliver weekly creative sessions in different venues across Worcestershire, including:

  • Riversides School, Worcester
  • Newbridge Short Stay School, Worcester
  • Christopher Whitehead Language College, Worcester
  • Blessed Edward Oldcorne Catholic College, Worcester
  • Ourside Youth Centre, Evesham
  • The Children's Society in 3 settings across Worcestershire and Shropshire

Since Autumn 2021, three artists have been going into these local schools and venues, running a series of creative arts workshops that aim to address:

  • Understanding of Childhood Criminal Exploitation and healthy relationships
  • Wellbeing and self-esteem
  • Behaviour and engagement with other activity
  • Hopes, dreams and aspirations
  • Interest in carrying on activity after sessions have completed

The different arts activities, including film-making, theatre and visual arts, have allowed young people to express themselves, increasing awareness of healthy relationships, self-esteem and encouraging them to continue with arts activity after sessions have completed.

Feedback from Future is Now

We received very positive feedback from the partner settings where we delivered arts, drama and film-making:

"This project had a huge positive impact on this student, both with engagement and future college/career aspirations. Her behaviour and attitude changed significantly during the process"

"His confidence in communicating with others has increased and he is now more comfortable with expressing issues that are concerning him in his personal life"

"The timing of this project couldn’t have been better with a small group of young people struggling with friendships and relationships. We have been able to watch these young people express their own stories and feelings in a way that clearly feels safe to them. I’m not sure they would be so forthcoming in just talking about it but with the workshops as a tool it seems to have made it easier for them. The content from the discussions has been a real insight and will allow us as a team to develop our future program".

For the young people themselves, the results showed the positive impact of the sessions. They were asked to scale their responses 1-5 with 5 being high: 

  • I liked the sessions – 95% scored 4s and 5s, with none below 3 
  • I felt better about myself after – 90% scored 4 or 5 
  • I learned about healthy relationships – 95% scored 4 or 5 
  • I learned how to keep myself safe – 95% scored 3 or above, most scored 5 
Project Artists

Nicola Prestage (Tigerfeatures)

Nicky Prestage is a documentary filmmaker, film facilitator and digital artist. She produces creative and engaging films which help people understand the challenges that other people face and to dispel negative stereotypes. She is passionate about facilitating film, drama and digital media projects and enjoys working with people to support them in unleashing their potential. She facilitates projects to build self-esteem, confidence, group cohesion and transferable skills to enable participants to engage and contribute positively in society.




John Pickett (Tribe Theatre)

John’s company Tribe Theatre have been running some drama workshops with young people in Worcestershire. Tribe Theatre have been running workshops and performing arts classes since 2020 including after school clubs, weekly drama classes, acting for screen classes, LAMDA examinations, and workshops in school holidays. John is a keen writer and director and has been sharing his love for a range of stories and scripts with students, focusing on some challenging themes and topics.


Mark Riley (Creative States)

After graduating in 1993, Mark spent 10 years working in the voluntary sector, using arts practise to support his roles on environmental, community development and education projects. Since turning freelance (as Creative~States) in 2003 he has worked with a wide variety of people from all walks of life.

Mark's practice is process-led, and revolves around helping people think, make sense of where they are and provide an opportunity to express this. He uses a broad range of 2D and 3D techniques in his work, including drawing, painting, collage, clay, puppets, willow, and tree dressing to name a few. He aims to share skills with participants, and provide opportunities for those whose circumstances may prevent them having access to arts experiences.