Participatory arts company Dot to Dot are leading a photography project with the two POPT Groups (Positive Outcomes for Parenting Teens) in Portsmouth. Both groups run from local children’s centres in Paulsgrove and central Portsmouth and are facilitated by a dedicated Teenage Pregnancy Team.
The POPT group members are predominantly from low income families and on low incomes themselves. They often experience social isolation and live in areas of deprivation.
With this Find Your Talent – PUSH Area Programme Funded project, the young parents have the opportunity to take their own photographs, develop their skills through discussion and input from artists and review and compare their own work. They are also able to pass on their skills to first time participants.
Some of the material produced will be used by young parent peer mentors as part of their presentations to newly pregnant young women and teenagers at risk.
The photography project provides an opportunity for young parents to create work of quality, and have their achievements seen and valued by others.
The displaying of the imagery on the ‘Big Screen’ in Guildhall Square, or inclusion in community newspapers or magazines will inform the wider community about the work of the Health Improvement and Development Service and, it is hoped, change people’s perceptions of young parents. This is a major issue for many young parents, who often feel stigmatised and discriminated against by many, including some statutory services.
This project has had a very positive effect on the teen parents that participated. The artists were both friendly, approachable and considerate to the needs of this vulnerable group. I facilitate both groups on a weekly basis and have multi-agencies delivering services to teen parents. Often it is hard for them to hold attention. What I was most impressed about was how the families actively engaged with the photography and I feel this was because of the non-judgmental manner in which the artists delivered the project. Low self-esteem, isolation and social exclusion are just a few of the issues our teen mums have to face.
Kelly Huggett, Teenage Pregnancy Worker, Portsmouth City Council Health Improvement and Development Service