This year represents the 40-year anniversary of Ariel Trust. During this time Ariel has been through a number of reinventions, but we are proud that we are still going strong despite the many challenges we have faced.
Ariel was established in 1982, in a Merseyside that was coming through a challenging time culminating in the Toxteth riots. It offered young people a voice and practical, vocational training leading to a route into employment in the broadcast industry. The success of this work can still be seen (and heard) on the airwaves today, with former students working across the BBC and in commercial radio.
The social, political and economic environment has been through many changes during the last 40 years and Ariel has constantly innovated in response to these changes. Over the years we have run successful vocational programmes as part of the European Social Fund and New Deal. The development of Learning & Skills Council led to a focus on younger participants through school-based projects. At each point the focus on communication skills and providing a voice for the marginalised has been at the heart of our work.
Capital of Culture has provided the catalyst for the latest phase of Ariel’s work. We worked with Liverpool City Council during the bid to engage young people in the bidding process. We achieved this by developing our first distance learning resource for teachers, enabling them to engage their pupils in writing a radio advert to promote Liverpool’s bid. The success of the bid led to further projects, as part of 2008 and beyond, using ideas from our communication skills approach to facilitate discussions on challenging subjects including alcohol use, racism and homophobia.
This work has grown into the Ariel of today; an organisation that still has communication skills at its heart and that now focuses on developing and delivering best practice approaches to safeguarding & violence prevention education. Ariel still works face-to-face with young people and has also developed a suite of online resources that are used by primary schools across Merseyside. We use techniques from forum theatre to empower young people as critical thinkers who are confident in using refusal & resistance skills to manage risks and seek support in response to risk associated with grooming, exploitation and online harms.
Thanks goes to everyone who has been a part of this journey to date, and here’s to another 40 years!