Young Corn Exchange - £5000 for a three year development programme

YCE meet to discuss the way forward

The Corn Exchange’s resident youth arts management collective, the Young Corn Exchange, have received a very generous £10,000 grant from Greenham Trust. This will fund a three-year development plan that will enable the group to continue to devise and deliver regular events but also provide external training opportunities and professional progression routes for members. Sarah Gregson, the Corn Exchange’s Learning and Participation Manager, tells us about the history of the group and how they have progressed over the past few years.

"YCE began in 2009 with an idea connected to the national Takeover initiative in which young people take over a workplace or organisation for a day. My predecessor, Sam Sampson, set up the group and saw a great potential in these hard working young people who had a clear interest in the arts but weren't looking for an opportunity to perform. I was lucky enough to take over this group in 2011 when they already had a number of great events under their belt including gigs, comedy nights and takeovers in which they programme all the activity at the Corn Exchange for two days."

"The members of YCE and I share one particular passion - making sure that as many people as possible get to see the amazing things that young people are capable of and to make sure that young people interested in the arts have access to professional advice and opportunities to apply their skills practically. I know this sounds a bit grand but the YCE have proven over the last year and a half that they are very articulate about their work and that they are more than capable of being responsible for it. In July 2012 they established their members committee, a group of 9 members who programme and plan the work of the Young Corn Exchange, working with me to write event briefs for the YCE activity and making sure that the ideas and needs of other members are represented. Their biggest task in 2013 was to seek longer term funding for the development of the group. They worked with me to develop a three year plan for the group including peer mentoring, training initiatives and the creation of a paid YCE graduate role to ensure that the experience of the older members could be harnessed."

YCE working on the Arts Online project

"This three year funding from Greenham Trust has already made a project possible that, in true YCE style, is focused on creating a long term resource for other young people called The Arts Online. The funding will enable them to promote this online arts careers resource to more local young people and has given them access to professional training from Maxx Design in social media marketing and strategy writing. This is only the beginning as they are a truly exceptional group of young people with some really big plans. We at the Corn Exchange learn at least as much from them as we are able to pass on to them!"

Within the next few weeks a Young Corn Exchange Graduate will be appointed to take on a paid leadership role within the group. This is intended to help them progress with the skills and experience they have accumulated as a member of the YCE as well as allow them to connect with the governance structures of the Corn Exchange by sitting as a youth representative on the Board of Trustees, mentored by Nick Sweeting of Improbable Theatre.

Alex Nash, a member of the group for two years, told us that “joining the YCE has enabled me to develop my skillset. I have taken on leadership roles in various events in the Newbury area, which would ordinarily be extremely unlikely for someone of my age and experience at the time. Further to this, joining the YCE eventually led to my employment within the Corn Exchange, proving that the YCE really does enable its members to develop from amateurs to fledgling professionals.”

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