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Guest Blog by Megan Garside

Photo credit: Sarah Mason

Children are the future – there’s no doubt about that. That’s why Happy Valley Pride makes it a priority to educate the next generation with lessons from the past and pass on the message of love and equality.

Education has always been a key aspect in our mission. Each year we work closely with schools in Calderdale, to help them to learn more about the LGBTQ+ community through our Youth Engagement program.

This year we are focusing on encouraging the children to explore their own individuality and express themselves through art and creative outlets. We call this the Creative Youth Engagement Project.

When it came time to choose this year’s Youth Engagement officer, there was no better choice than local musician and LGBTQ+ supporter Terry Logan. If you live in Hebden Bridge, you have probably heard of Terry logan, but if you haven’t then listen up! Terry is an amazing musician and has been a prominent member of the local pride community for quite some time.

Terry is not only a singer-songwriter by night, but a teacher by day. She is the Head Mentor Tutor at Ryburn Valley Sixth Form where she created one of the first LGBTQ+ student support groups in Calderdale and inspired students to run their own Pride week and musical theatre production. Extra-curricular activities are very important to Mrs Logan as she has led many afterschool events including a Battle of the Bands competition for all the sixth forms in Calderdale.

With such an impressive background, Happy Valley Pride decided to give Terry creative control of the project with the central theme being identity and creativity.

Terrys initial idea was to put on a fashion show that would take place during the Happy Valley Pride festival. The kids involved would showcase their costumes that represent their own individuality and identity. When asked about her thought process behind this idea Terry said,

“I took inspiration from ballroom culture and how the fringes of society express themselves through fashion and representing themselves through visual identity.”

However, when the community caught wind of this exciting idea, many schools wanted to take part and it became apparent that this project had some branching out to do. With help from teaching staff, Terry has spread the program over five Key Stage groups in eight different schools.

 “I’ve had great support from the teachers who have told me what particular objectives to focus on and what type of tasks would work for their particular students in their particular schools”

The schools that are taking part are; Old Town School, Todmorden High School, Central St Infant & Stubbings Infants, Heptonstall School, Calder High, Calder Primary, Riverside Primary and Ryburn Valley High School.

Age is an important factor, so to accommodate age groups across the educational system, each Key Stage will have their own separate project based on the theme of identity, but will share the same learning objectives:

  • To develop our understanding of identity
  • To develop our understanding of diversity
  • To develop our awareness of the LGBTQ+ community
  • To develop our awareness of equality and compassion
  • To connect communities both educationally and wider

Terry has devised a number of colourful and engaging lesson plans and activities that will be taught by teachers in each respective school.

“I hope this project will give the kids a more positive self-image but also a better understanding of others so that there isn’t any animosity or bullying in schools because those years when we’re growing up are our most insecure.”

The children in KS1 (aged 4-6) will take part in a string of lessons based around their personal identity, family identity, cultural identity and sexual identity. They will then take all of that learning and create a personal piece of art that signifies how they see themselves as an individual. Those art pieces will then be put into a collage and displayed at a local art gallery on display where they can be enjoyed by the community.

KS2 (aged 7-10) will be bringing Terry’s original idea to life – the identity costumes. Understanding identity through clothing will resonate especially with this age group as Terry says, “As you get older you start to learn to see and express your identity more through what you wear and the decisions you make.” Using colour, textures and most importantly – sparkles, the kids will have the chance to let their personalities shine through in what they wear.

The high schoolers in KS3 (aged 11-16) are going to be writing identity poetry. Throughout history literature has played a major role in identity and self-expression and the LGBTQ+ community have often found comfort in poetry from modern pieces all the way back to Shakespearean times. From each class there will be a winning poet who will have their poem recorded and edited into one larger piece.

Finally, the sixth formers in KS5 (aged 16-18) will act as mentors. Children look up to those older than them, and often copy what they do, so who would make better role models than the LGBTQ+ support group at Ryburn Valley Sixth Form? The teens will to be writing their own poem and designing their own costumes which will inspire the younger children to take on their own projects.

“I think the overall idea is the younger we can start putting this kind of learning into the curriculum, hopefully it will eradicate any kind of bullying and in a way a need to raise awareness in diversity, it should just be the norm.”

The lesson plans are well underway, and the children have already embarked on their journey down the rainbow painted brick road. The creative tasks will take place at the end of the school year and the poems, pictures and costumes will be displayed at the Happy Valley Pride festival.

During May half-term Terry will find out how the lessons have been going so far and we will report back in a few weeks to see exactly what each year group has been learning and how the children are reacting to the program so far.

Tim Whitehead, Happy Valley Pride’s Artistic Director said,

“Following her appointment last week, I thought what a difference it would have made to me, as a bullied gay kid in school, to have had someone like Terry inspiring me and showing me that not only was I ok but that which made me different was something to celebrate and love.”


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July 20, 2019 0

It’s been a busy year for Happy Valley Pride and local schools. Thanks to a generous grant from the Hebden Bridge Rotary Club we were able to extend our annual Art Competition to four schools, Riverside Junior School, Central Street Infant and Nursery School, Stubbings Infant School, Calder High School and Todmorden High School.

Riverside Junior School held special assemblies as part of their Rainbow Week. The children learn about anti-bullying and the diversity of families in our local community. The message that ‘Everyone Matters!’ is prominently featured on one of the winning Top Hats for Pride featured in the photos, below. Mrs Taylor chose eight winning hats, one from each class. As you can see, the colourful rainbow designs show how creative the pupils are. The school’s excellent engagement with diversity has been recognised by Stonewall.

Ms Tregellas has been busy with the children at Central Street Infant and Nursery School, with a mini parade and more fantastic art. Ms Tregellas is also a volunteer for Happy Valley Pride and uses her creative talents to include local children and families in the festival.

Stubbings Infant School has joined in the fun for the first time this year and we hope to have the children help us to make impressive and colourful artwork for the festival each year from now on.

Todmorden High has formed a group for young people at the school. The group held their own assembly about LGBT+ in the school and hope to inform and educate pupils and staff about issues affecting them. I was fortunate to meet the group and talk about LGBT+ equality over the recent past and how to develop allies amongst their peers. Mr Freeman has facilitated impressive LGBT+ themed artwork with the help of Mrs Greaves.

Calder High has an established Barnardo’s Equality Ambassadors (BEAMS) group. Calder High students have produced impressive art based on the theme of diversity along with bunting. We aim to visit the BEAMS team next autumn and offer ideas and support.

Many thanks to all the staff and pupils who have contributed art work to Happy Valley Pride this year. We are so impressed with the hats, drawings, paintings and awareness of LGBT+. We will be displaying some of the art works as part of our Information Fair on Saturday 27th July 2019 on Bridge Gate, Hebden Bridge near the main stage. So, come along and admire the remarkable artistic talent of our local children and young people.


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July 6, 2018 0

Welcome to this first blog from the Happy Valley Pride Youth Engagement Committee!

David Kennedy and Sean Pert look back at the last few weeks, getting local children and young people involved in the festival through art.

David and I have been busy talking to local schools about Happy Valley Pride and this year’s theme of ‘Revolution!’

Video

We developed a presentation telling everyone about our theme and what the competition involves.
Watch the video here: Video about Happy Valley Pride’s Art Competition 2018

Riverside Junior School

Our first stop on Monday 18th June was Riverside Junior School, Hebden Bridge. Mrs Taylor introduced us to the children and we talked about how to get over the message of LGBT+ people being part of the community and everyone living in harmony. Some comments from the children were “Art is a language” and “Revolution is a big change”. Several children were able to tell us about LGBT+ people they were related to, and knew, and they wanted us to know that Mrs Taylor was “Good at helping with Art”.
We can’t wait to present the winners with their certificates on Thursday 19th July!

Art is a language

Todmorden High School

Next stop was Todmorden High School on Wednesday 27th June. We were lucky enough to view some of the pupils’ work in the gallery before meeting one of the classes. Mr Freeman, Head of Art led a fascinating discussion of art and how this might be used to convey equality. Some of the young people were shocked to hear that LGBT+ people might still encounter prejudice and discrimination. A spray painting display of revolutionary themed flags is to be expected!

Have you ever experienced discrimination because you’re gay?

Central Street Infant and Nursery School

It’s never too early to think about equality and that we are all different in some ways and the same in many others. At Central Street Infant and Nursery School our very own much loved volunteer Ms Tregellas is one of the school’s teachers and the children will be making colourful and attractive designs and pictures as part of the competition.

The festival display

The flags decorated by local children and young people will form part of the display at the Expo on Saturday 11th August 2018. The flags and banners can also be seen at the Picnic in the Park on Sunday 12th August 2018. See the programme for details.

Join in the fun

Are you a school in the Calder Valley keen to get your pupils’ artistic skills shine? We are keen to involve children and young people in Happy Valley Pride to show what a vibrant, welcoming and fun place the valley is to live. We run an annual art competition as part of the festival and our in-house artist David Kennedy is available to come along and talk about how art transformed homophobic graffiti into a work of art spreading love and acceptance.

We have an Enhanced DBS and can help your school with thinking about preventing bullying and promoting the acceptance and understanding of diversity.

Get in touch!