WHALE Arts join EPIC International Youth Project

Wednesday, 17 November 2021

EPIC and WHALE Arts have continued their partnership to deliver an exciting new project. Together, we designed a bespoke program of the EPIC International Youth Project (EIYP) to be delivered to participants after a year and a half of lockdown restrictions.

EPIC’s partnership with WHALE Arts began prior to the pandemic with the Edinburgh Girls Project (2019), funded by The University of Edinburgh’s Edinburgh Local Community Grants. The Edinburgh Girls project was an introductory level project for girls aged 5 to 11, which focused on personal development topics, such as communication, self-esteem, healthy eating, exercise, body image, stress relief, and gender roles.

This time around, EPIC wanted to offer a project with a slightly different focus.

The (EIYP) was developed during the COVID-19 pandemic to address findings lockdown restrictions severely impacted our young people’s mental health, confidence in their skills, and prospects for the future. EPIC created the EIYP project to address the mental health crisis for young people, to help instil a sense of social confidence, and equip our young people with key life skills.

Here at EPIC, we want to encourage our young people to engage in international thinking and to acquire empathy and a desire to understand global issues, the earth, and humanity. This gives young people the opportunity to learn and have meaningful discussions with people from all over the world.

EPIC and WHALE chose to deliver three sessions of the International Youth Project: 1) Mental Health and Wellbeing 2) New Scots and Cultural Awareness and 3) Physical Health, Body Image and Self-esteem. Sessions were delivered in-person (at WHALE Arts Centre in Wester Hailes over the October Break 2021) with approximately 10 mixed gender participants aged 13 to 15.

Project Coordinator Candace holding a blow-up globe in front of an EPIC banner
EPIC International Youth Project is developed and delivered to youth groups by PhD candidate and United Nations House Scotland Team Coordinator Candace Thomas.
Candace sits in front of slide show, with children on the floor watching.
EPIC International Youth Project has a flexible delivery, and is personalised to the community or organisation.

These sessions included a variety of fantastic activities, take-homes, and workshops from guest consultants Molly Nixon from the Yoga Mandala Project and Mahdi Saki, Iranian Refugee and Activist.

EPIC provided participants with feedback forms at the end of each session, which gave us an idea of how each topic was received. 100% of participants said that they enjoyed sessions and felt respected by EPIC staff.

“I would like to have more of these sessions because they are very relaxing. Would be good for helping to relax like on a Sunday before school when I am feeling stressed before school.”

“More yoga please – it was fun it calms you down. More time for discussion/talking. More sweets. More calming exercises.” 

Needless to say, we ensured there were enough sweets and chocolate at the following session!

The EPIC International Youth Project has proved to encourage our young people to adopt healthy behaviours and habits, which are important to living a fulfilled life. However, most importantly, these behaviours and habits are likely to continue later in life. Given this, the EPIC International Youth Project has the capacity to make an impact on not only our participants’ lives but the communities in which they live long after the completion of the project.

EPIC has had a very positive experience delivering the EPIC International Youth Project to various partners in 2021. If your community or youth organisation would like to partner with EPIC to deliver the EPIC International Youth Project, get in touch with us today.