What Is BIRD? What is BIRD? Through one-to-one creative sessions for 16-25 year olds, BIRD harnesses the power of creativity for two purposes… 1) As a way of improving and sustaining wellbeing. 2) As a vehicle to build mentoring relationships. Wherever possible we look to introduce or communicate our values of Brilliance, Integrity, Relationship and Delight; as part of our vision to see ‘fully realised lives’, we believe they are powerful ideas to help young people grow, and expand the ways they think. At their heart they are about: Acknowledging who you are (Brilliance) Being true to who you are (Integrity) Sharing who you are (Relationship) Valuing and sustaining who you are. (Delight) Charitable Aim 1: To improve and sustain wellbeing in 16-25 year olds to reduce the chances of mental health issues becoming established. Chartable Aim 2: To facilitate creative and personal development and to be a consistent, encouraging and supportive adult presence in the lives of young people. Sustaining and Improving Wellbeing: Research tells us that 75% of mental illness is established before the age of 24 years old and in recent research published by Youth Music 90% of school leaders reported an increase in the number of students experiencing anxiety or stress, low mood and depression. There is increasing empirical evidence (as demonstrated in the Youth music report and this cross-party parliamentary paper published in 2017) to give power to what many actively creative people have always known - creativity is a powerful - even essential - contributor to maintaining wellbeing. Brené Brown, inspirational TED speaker and well known researcher and author discovered, as part of her research how important creativity is - observing it in her data as one of the 10 guideposts to what she calls ‘wholehearted living’. BIRD harnesses this power by engaging our young artists in at least one, 2-3 hour creative session a week taking their creative gift as our starting point. We are not working specifically with youth who are suffering poor mental health per se, but rather working with all youth as an interventional programme designed to sustain and improve mental health, and have an impact on the numbers of young people developing poor mental health in the first place. Creating Mentoring Relationships: The nature of 'creating' - the opportunity to reflect honestly on our lives and our experiences in the hope that we can express something universal through our art - can encourage a level of honesty and openness. This makes the creative environment a very natural incubator for trust and rapport to grow. It is by developing this trust and rapport in our sessions that BIRD’s practitioners can legitimately become Mentors. The relationship bestows the title Mentor and it is only then that we are privileged to be invited to contribute positively to the lives of our young artists. It is our assertion that effective mentorship relies on relationship first which takes time and consistency. Who do we work with?