Celebrating #iWillWeek - YAC Social Stories

To celebrate #iWillWeek we tasked the Youth Advisory Council members with two
social story activities during the London Away Day.

The group began by capturing a series of photographs along their commute which was
prompted by statements that encouraged them to take snapshots of items and scenery from
their favourite interests to inspiring youth social action, to photographing random sightings –
before selecting an image that would inspire a news article.
During the afternoon session, the YAC members attended a news article session, where
they learned how to construct and write a news article featuring an intro, summary lede,
body and tail.
Applying the structure to write an article, members were asked to select an image they had
captured that best represented where or how they wanted to make a positive difference.
Here’s a selection of some of the YAC #iWillWeek social stories:


Mollie Speed, Sport: its impact on community and mental health, how will it change
your life?

Sport has always been known for its benefits when it comes to your physical health, but what
about its impact on not only your mental health but also the mental well-being of the
community that surrounds you.
The feeling of a close-knit and strong community will always make you feel safer and more
at home, but how does sports play into this idea of a strong and happy relationship with
those around you? A community does not only have to be the community that you physically
live in, but it could be your community of friends, your community of family, or even the
community of your favourite sports team. Sports has two outcomes, a positive or negative
one, you either win or lose – yet as a community is there a way that you could turn this into a
beneficial outcome either way?

Fans of sports teams are known for their vibrant show of love and affection for the players
and the team that they are watching in all sports. Ice hockey is one of the best examples, the
New York Rangers play their home games in Maddison Square Gardens every year –
bringing people from across the world to watch them beat each team that comes their way.
Not surprisingly, almost the entire crowd is there to support this team, wearing the team
colours and singing the well-known chants throughout the game.
This is an example of the community in which it can have such a beneficial impact. Whether
the team wins or loses there is still that remaining feeling of support and encouragement,
almost every person in that audience is hoping for the same thing, that their team will win.
That hope can become the closeness and strength within a community to support not only
the team but each other. Even if the game does not turn out the way you hoped, you are still
there supporting other fans and sharing that same disappointment – even if that means
telling everyone that the other team cheated!
Another prime example of this is the Women’s Euros game in 2023, the support nationwide
was one of the biggest expressions of community that the UK has seen in a while. Pushing

the sport in young girls across the country in schools and universities, promoting the
opportunities that are open to them.

No matter who is sitting around you, whether they live in the same country as you or not, you
know they are in the same mindset – the biggest question is, how can we use this to benefit
our mental health?
Sharing stories and news amongst the other fans can develop the feeling of safety – you
might not know these people and you may never see them again, but this bond formed over
a couple of hours while watching sport can leave you feeling uplifted and more comfortable
in your surroundings. The same can be said for a school environment, you don’t need to be
sat in a crowd of thousands of people, it may just be a team of school friends.
These tight relationships that you form with other peers in either sporting teams or
classrooms become your network, they are the people you trust and go to when things get
tough. They become your home away from home. Without these relationships, what makes
you smile in the day, what makes you feel loved and supported, what makes you laugh, our
mental health can be detrimentally impacted by the environment around us. The same
theory can be applied to sports.
Now, will you see the impact that sports can have on your mental health and the wellbeing of
others around you, but also the community that it forms?


Finty Royle, Changing with time and the seasons

Amidst the frenzied rush of an early morning commute, there emerges a brief interlude of
tranquillity. The warm, autumnal hues seamlessly blend into the clear sky as the sun
gracefully swaps places with the moon, signalling Lancaster's awakening. In the tapestry of
changing seasons, the city's architecture serves as an enduring testament to the evolving
world around us.
Castle Hill, a relic of an old Roman settlement, proves to be more than a mere historical
artefact. On the right side of the frame, a sombre reminder of England's darkest history
unfolds — a Grade 1 listed structure that witnessed execution, persecution, incarceration,
and punishment. Once perceived as an impenetrable bastion of penance, this place, after a
millennium of history, now exudes a tranquil ambience, inviting contemplation and study as
well as the best coffee in town.
On the left stands the priory, steadfastly occupying the same ground it claimed before the
1430s. Its choir stalls proudly claim the title of the third oldest in the UK. A remarkable
testament to resilience, it has not only endured but also grown in tandem with the society we
navigate today. During my last visit, the priory opened its doors to a community event,
featuring a trans vicar narrating their story as part of the "Light Up Lancaster" celebration.
In the distance, the Ashton Memorial stands proud on the horizon, completing the triad of
Lancaster's historic landmarks that cradle the more modern town within. Commissioned by
the affluent Lord Ashton in 1908 at a cost of £87,000 in memory of his wife, the memorial
stands as a testament to the rising property prices. Offering breathtaking panoramas of
Lancaster, Morecambe Bay, and the distant Lake District, the Ashton Memorial is a symbol
of enduring legacy and an ever-expanding urban tapestry.

Change is perhaps the only constant in our lives yet is often met with the most resistance
however I believe that it is something that we can also learn to grow with. Just like the
seasons, change can give us new perspectives and opportunities to grow.


Hollie Weaver, Beware Bootleggers

The act of illegally recording live theatre and then publishing this online. Sounds pretty
harmless but what can this actually mean for the world of live theatre ?
Bootlegging has become more and more common as modern technology has evolved
through the years and despite ushers holding up signs clearly stating not to record, audience
members just can’t resist holding up their cameras to capture their favourite moments. This
can then escalate as people post this on their social media accounts and start making
money off the content. This may mean that, as this media becomes more widely spread,
people may not want to go and pay to go see a show because they can now watch it from
the comfort of their own home for free. This then might put the show in danger as they may
loose audience members and have to close the show, leaving many cast members, crew
members, producers and directors jobless. Another negative of this is that I can really put
the actors off if they can see your camera reflecting off the stage lights as they may feel an
additional pressure that how they are performing right now could then be shared around the
world and not be able to be deleted as they have no control over the footage. This is
exploiting the actors rights. Another issue with this is it can cause quite a lot of comparison
between actors especially is some one is an understudy for the role. This can create hate
culture which is disrespectful to the actors especially as you have no idea whether the actor
may have just been having an off show or experiencing illness during the recording you
However, despite the danger that this might impose it does actually have some positive
impacts too. For example, someone may see one of the videos and then want to go and see
the whole show, so may help to increase ticket sales and bring in new audiences. Some
modern shows like Six the musical even encourage recording some parts of the show as this
then gives a taste for the show reel without giving away the whole plot. Another benefit could
be that it makes theatre so much accessible for everyone you don’t need to live in London,
or be able to pay London ticket prices to watch your favourite shows. I find this particularly
useful as a student in musical theatre as I can easily find videos of people performing pieces
and analysis what I like about their performance and what vocal techniques they may be
using and consider how I can adopt this into my performance.
Overall I think it is an issue that both has great benefits and drawbacks. I think a solution to
the issue would be to make use of platforms digital theatre and national theatre live that
stream both live and recorded theatre shows as this makes it accessible for everyone but
still makes sure that the show and the crew/cast involved get payed accordingly. I think it
would be good if a student discount could be added for sites like these and maybe make the
monthly fee a bit more affordable within reason so everyone still gets a fair pay.

Charis Gardiner, Why should we stop and rest every once in a while?


In an ever-moving, ever-adapting world, it can be hard to take time to just be still. We always
feel like we have something to be getting on with and the pressure to keep going can be
overwhelming at times.
This is exactly why we need to be more present and let ourselves rest. How many times
have you been completely exhausted and haven’t been able to do the work needed?
Probably more than you’d like to admit, right? But there’s a solution, and it involves noticing
the small things in your day.
This something could be an object, a photo or just whatever made you smile. Noticing these
things and reflecting on them in your day, giving your brain a chance to reflect and rest, is a
method that is often used in the mental health field to help ground patients and stop them
from falling into that spiral of despair. Having a lot on your plate can seem like it’s all doom
and gloom, but recognising the positive points of your day while allowing yourself to switch
off is essential to preserving your sanity when it seems like there’s too much to focus on at
once. Your way of doing this could be taking photos, journaling or even just thinking about
what you did that was positive in the day.
By reflecting on the small things each day, you improve your overall outlook as well as giving
yourself that much-needed break!




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