Front Lounge is a youth arts charity. It was set up to encourage young people from marginalised backgrounds to pursue careers in the creative industries.
The development support focussed on Front Lounge’s Bringing Up Baby (BUBS) initiative: a young person-led project for young (teenage) parents. The young people set up a sewing and textiles group called Kindred Clothing.
Kindred Clothing aims to help build up the skills, confidence and networks of vulnerable young families by supporting parents under the age of 20. Based in Dundee, it is led by young parents and works with parents under 20 by supporting them to design and make clothes, learn new skills, and make friends while their children play. It is entirely peer led.
How we helped
While the project had a plan, the participants felt there was an opportunity to grow this project beyond it’s one-year funding period, potentially to establish a social enterprise that offers training, as well as manufacturing textile items on a small scale. This would fit with the organisation’s new wider funding strategy, which is premised on a “learning journey” framework to support participants across all of Front Lounge’s projects.
What was the outcome?
With the project already underway when the development support began, a priority was to establish opportunities to provide qualifications to the participants and volunteers. We provided some analysis of the skills landscape in this area and had an initial discussion with a private training provider with experience in providing fashion and textile SVQs, as well as training assessors, verification services, and running satellite SQA/SVQ centres. Their business includes supporting employers and charities to become training organisations in their own right. We made the introductions and the provider and Front Lounge have developed a relationship and partnership plan. Several young parent volunteers are going through their SVQ assessor training and also ‘train the trainer’ training, which they report have been “life changing” for these young people, who are to become leaders in the new project. They will be qualified to train people and assess SVQs, which means the project can be truly peer led.
We worked together to develop a project plan for the next three years. The project manager had a clear idea of activity and how to deliver it. Using this as background, supported by two workshops run with the volunteers, who are bursting with enthusiasm and ideas, the output was to produce a business plan.
The plan sets out the strategic context for the support provided to young parents in Dundee, which retains the highest proportion of teenage mothers in Scotland. A range of national and local strategies are focussed on addressing the deprivation that underlies this as well as supporting teenage parents and their children, who suffer considerable and lifelong disadvantages. Kindred Clothing helps deliver on a range of important national and regional strategic objectives.
A key technical part of the development support has been to work with the team to create a full three-year financial appraisal, which they can use to support funding applications to support the project from next year.
BUBS is likely to become a flagship project of Front Lounge, allowing it to secure itself as a training and development organisation for young disadvantaged people in Dundee.