Written by By Summer Carey-Daw (Young Person involved in the project)
Introducing “We Are Limitless”: A new, youth-led video project collaboration between SENDiass4BCP and Sendias Bathnes. A refreshing new perspective, told directly from the young people themselves – their stories the way they want them to be heard. Since August 2021, we have been working with a team of young people who all have Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, telling their stories and sharing personal experiences of their time spent in education. From this, we have been able to create a collection of videos showcasing these experiences in a variety of different ways. Whilst highlighting not only the positive experiences of support, but also the struggles these young people have come across.
In the early summer before we began the project, we reached out to schools in the local area asking if they knew of any young people willing to participate. It was after this that the project really began to take shape, as we then began brainstorming ideas and having conversations about what the films could look like. Taking inspiration and ideas from the young people and their personal experiences, we were able to create briefs for three different films – one with an interview style, ‘The Students’ Voices’, one as a silent film ‘Time to Talk: Where to get help’, and another sharing a poem, ‘To Our Younger Selves’ written by the young people.
With direction from the team of young people working with us, we then sourced production companies and held Dragon’s Den style pitches to choose who we worked with. As a group, we settled on ‘Blue Light Creative’ from the BANES area and ‘Branded Studios’ from the BCP area. And with their expertise and guidance, our ideas finally began to be brought to life.
When it came to filming in the spring, the aim was making sure all the young people felt included and comfortable in their roles so the experience on set would be enjoyable for everyone. We worked together to make every aspect accessible and ensured that each young person had a role that played on their individual strengths. Afterwards, lots of time was spent with both companies as we simultaneously reviewed and altered the rough cuts and edits for all three films. This included adding subtitles and British Sign Language where possible.
One thing that we have always thought about and spoken about throughout the course of the project is why we got involved, and why it was so important that this project be done. And ultimately it was “to show people just how important inclusion is”, “to show how effort to support young people with SEND in the right way can have a positive impact”, “to give people the resources we didn’t have growing up” and “to acknowledge the fact progress has been made but there is still more that can be done”.
The hope for this project is that it will not only destigmatise needing to ask for support, but that it will encourage people to feel empowered and confident in the decisions they make for themselves, inspire open conversations about the rights of young people accessing correct support for their needs and highlight to professionals the need to identify opportunities for young people’s voices to be heard.
All three videos that have been made so far can be found on our YouTube Channel. A fourth film is due to be produced by the young people this year, so watch this space!