The BRV (Belonging, Resilience, Vocabulary) project works with a group of young men and boys in Sheffield and Barnsley to help them achieve a sense of belonging, resilience and improved understanding of themselves.

Through group workshops, art and photography sessions, the boys and young men will explore and enrich their emotional intelligence.

They will engage with themes such as personal and group identities, health and wellbeing, how to manage difficult emotions, citizenship and core values. All of this will help them navigate adolescence and help them aspire to positive futures.

Through BRV, boys and young men can learn the tools and techniques to recognise, communicate and manage their emotions, and realise their capacity to become active, empowered citizens.

Over the last year the BRV project has grown from a pilot project working with Roma boys at a local academy, to delivering bespoke sessions and workshops to training providers, colleges and Universities.

During the 12-week programme, over 2 hour weekly sessions, it seeks to address inequality and disadvantage by utilising new learning in context with a growing sense of self- worth and resilience, enabling boys to become the owners of their emotions and advocates for their own lives.

Outcomes are that boys are able to:

· Recognise, value, and respect their emotions and those of others, and recognise boundaries.

· Increase knowledge and understanding of self, and learn to like themselves more.

· Explore and challenge perceptions of contemporary masculinity within the context of their lives

· Identify situations/ places where they feel vulnerable, then learn how to address their emotions and develop helping strategies

· Develop help seeking behaviours and identify support needed

· Identify and address risky or life chance blocking behaviours/attitudes

· Be able to critically reflect and make informed choices

· Increase sense of citizenship and belonging

· Have positive opportunities and experiences to focus on their futures in terms of career opportunities, relationships and emotional wellbeing

We believe that the programme will also have a positive impact on the lives of their peers, family members and the wider community in terms of knowledge exchange and growing trust, understanding and inter-relationships.

We are currently running 2 programmes, one with Haven in Sheffield, a project that supports boys who are survivors of domestic abuse, and the other with

Independent Training Solutions in Barnsley, an alternative education provider for young people with learning or behaviour difficulties.

Both aim to empower the boys to gain an understanding of self and others through exploration & reflection within the context of their experiences. The programme is enabling them to recognise their own and the group’s core values and to develop the tools to grow their emotional intelligence. The boys are learning to navigate and manage difficult feelings/emotions in an environment that enables them to manage difficult pasts and aspire for positive futures.

The BRV programme enables boys and young men to learn to like themselves and respect others in a way that bolsters rather than diminishes their sense of the emergent self. To become emotionally literate, growing in confidence and self-esteem, whilst exploring authentic- self, culture, and contemporary masculinity and hope, in order to reframe what it is to be a young male in 21st century Britain.

“For me BRV stands for opening up and looking at how we feel as young men. We are all brothers that should stand together, don’t bottle up your feelings, learn about emotions, after all we are all one family."

Darren Higgins, 19 years old.

The project uses a multitude of approaches to best suit the needs of the boys and young men using art’s based methodological tools, within the context of a challenging but nurturing environment. Both ecological and individual rights to be heard in terms of narratives are thus enabled to best promote integrational and social capital.

“We make new friends and we can share our problems together, it is safe and we learn new things, I still get angry sometimes but I can come here now”.

Dillon, 11 years old.

The BRV project is growing across a variety of arenas and seeks not only to support boys and young men to gain in their life journeys through 21st century Britain, but to promote best practice via training and workshops to professionals and stake holders co-delivered and produced by the young men themselves.

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