Norwich Castle - Museums Association
Norwich Castle has worked with young offenders and children and young people at risk of offending in partnership with the Norfolk Youth Offending Team (YOT) since 2004. Each year the museum runs a 10-12 week programme with an artist and member of the museum’s learning team for young people supported by workers from the YOT team.

Many of the young people have low self-esteem and the programme helps them to develop their team working and inter-personal skills, and gives them the opportunity to participate in meaningful activities in a community setting and to re-assess some of their behaviours.

Each course is reviewed with the YOT team, looking at what went well and what could have been improved, what impact the course has had on each young person and what they have achieved.

Programmes have included making short animations with an experienced film-maker and exploring social media, crime and punishment and bullying. The latest course used graffiti on the castle walls as inspiration for participants to work with an artist to sculpt their own designs into clay which was then cast into plaster blocks resembling the castle’s limestone bricks.

The celebration at the end of each course is an important feature when the young people can show their work to an invited group of parents, siblings and stakeholders. Displaying their work helps to raise the self-esteem of the young people and seeing key adults respond positively to their work is an immensely affirming experience.