Kids getting Hyped up

9 July 2019 | North West England

Hype - The colourful mural at St Cuthbert’s Catholic High School painted as part of the Vibrant Schools Project

How transforming spaces is boosting youngsters’ lives.

HYPE is a groundbreaking youth project that transforms neglected spaces to boost young people’s wellbeing and life chances.

Some of their most striking work is in schools, such as St Cuthbert’s Catholic High School in St Helens, where a vibrant mural is a striking playground feature.

Designed by 50 students, the wall painting is part of an ambitious new programme that looks to completely transform empty spaces in schools across the Wirral.

The Vibrant Schools scheme is just one of a series of initiatives from HYPE, a social enterprise which aims to give young people a brighter future and strengthen the community at the same time.

They work in schools, parks and community centres, and engage with around 300 young people each week, many of whom are vulnerable, disengaged or have special educational needs.

Students at St Cuthbert’s spent 12 weeks revitalising a previously unused space. During the project, they learned about healthy eating, growing and nurturing, and also about the importance of working together.

Students took part in a series of workshops to design and build planters for flowers, fruit and vegetables. They also measured the spaces and performed risk assessments in order for them to actually build and install them. Pupil Daniel said: “I feel that my self-esteem and confidence has grown and I have made lots of new friends with students that I had not previously spoken to.”

HYPE work in 12 schools and next year aim to work with at least one secondary school in each district in the Liverpool City Region.

The Vibrant Schools project is just one of a range of youth activities that HYPE deliver. They specialise in supporting young people aged between seven and 24, who are living in neighbourhoods where there are limited opportunities. Everything they do is community-oriented and promotes healthy lifestyles.

“It could be gaining confidence, putting a CV together, making new friends, learning new skills, being part of an event - our projects are very much youth-led so the learning process is always happening,” says Matthew Houghton who founded HYPE. “As a child and teenager I would have loved to have something like HYPE around for me,”

Another project making big waves is their ambitious Vibrant Parks project where they bring run down parks and communities together across the Wirral. When they find a scrap of land ripe for revival they bring in their teams to recreate it as an exciting space for young people to meet and hold events. This summer alone they will be holding social action and a community event across the Wirral and are likely to work with more than 500 young people.

Volunteer Beth said: “Vibrants Parks is about getting children involved in turning waste pieces of land into something vibrant and beautiful, as well as a place they can use and is educational.”

Danny, 39, has been volunteering since last year. “I originally started with HYPE on an employability scheme. It has all been really positive moves in a direction I would like to work in, helping pass on life skills.”

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