Young people with care experience came together this year to produce a film designed to tackle stigma and reduce stereotypes. The wording was in response to society's low expectations of those with care experience and a wish to reduce prejudice and raise aspirations for this group of young people.
The One Percent film describes the young people's journeys through the care system, using a character called Sam, a care leaver who is on a journey of self-discovery. It is written by the young people with care experience using their personal experiences and the challenges they face. The One Percent relates to the 1% of children are looked after by the care system in England. The film features Ellie, Shelly, Lauren and Jade.
The film was created by young people involved with Inspired Youth, a York-based social enterprise using digital media production, arts and participation to inform, challenge, educate and inspire, and was showcased as part of York's first ever Mediale, a new international digital arts festival. Inspired Youth's Director and award-winning filmmaker Kev Curran and York based Hip Hop artist Kritikal Powers brought together a group of young people from the city, to create spoken word performances on film, bringing their personal experiences to life through the creation of a character representing a shared experience of the group. We spoke to Shelly and Jade, two of the young people involved in the production.
I have worked with Inspired Youth in a few other projects dating back to 2014, all relating to experiences of being in care. Because of my connections with the team, I was able to hear directly about this project and put across my interest to Kev and Liam at Inspired Youth way before any information had been put out because I was really eager to be involved.
From my perspective what inspired the topic of this film was the negative portrayals of young people in and leaving care in the media. There is a large pre-judgement associated with care experienced people and we've been campaigning for some time now in York to tackle this and change the narrative.
My involvement in the project ranged from creating poetry, plotting a storyline for the film, acting and speaking in front of the camera. So overall us young people had a major influence on how the project was shaped.
I would like to see opportunities for care leavers increase, and for the outcomes of care leavers to improve. I want care leavers to feel they can speak out about their experiences and that their experiences don't define who they are. Often our achievements are cut short because of the labels that are often attached to us. I'd like to see these labels gone and for us to have a fairer chance.
Very positive and emotive. We've had various people and organisations getting in touch, as well as other care experienced people sharing their experiences and how they felt about the project. These positive reactions create a definite sense of hope, people are joining in the discussions and campaigns to actually help make a difference.
The main perception of being in care is that we are underachievers, that we won't succeed, that we will commit crimes, use illegal substances, become homeless, and become another front-page article about failure. People often think that we're vulnerable and more likely to crumble under pressure, but this is completely wrong as I know so many resilient young people in and leaving care that are campaigning for change.
Encourage us, and give us opportunities. Tell us that you believe in us and help to create platforms for our voices to be heard.
I became involved in the project through knowing Kev and Liam at Inspired Youth because of previous projects. The film topic was inspired by wanting to make changes to people's perceptions of care leavers and to show that we, as care leavers, are just like any other teenagers and we deserve the same opportunities to achieve what we aspire to do and to outline some of the struggles we face when moving in to independence.
I was involved in the project through the planning, writing the poem with Liam and Kev, filming and audio interviews. We wanted to change people's outlook on care leavers to be a more positive one and to also help get care leavers the appropriate support they need. The reaction at the release of the 1% film was so positive and it highlighted the most important points to the people who were in the audience watching.
Kev Curran from Inspired Youth led on the project. He believes that the statistics risk becoming self-fulfilling prophecies by putting limitations on what young people believe they can achieve.
"Children end up in the care system through no fault of their own, and yet they are frequently identified as the most likely to fail.
"They are used to being told what they can't do, not being inspired to achieve what they can, and this can have a detrimental impact, sometimes in the long term."