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"It makes my heart so happy": Impact of E2M's Heritage Market Festival

Escape2Make’s Heritage Market Festival was a 6 week free creative programme for 11-18s in Lancaster & Morecambe, featuring 54 workshops across 14 activities linked to local cultural heritage, culminating in a youth-led community event in Lancaster Market Square on 17th December 2023. Escape2Make partnered with Lancaster City Museums to deliver the project as part of their centennary celebrations. 14 sessions took place in local museums and heritage venues. This project was made possible by a £75,660 grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, thanks to National Lottery Players. Evaluation activities were delivered in partnership with the University of Cumbria, led by Dr Rebekah Ackroyd and Professor Sally Elton-Chalcraft.  

202 11-18-year-olds signed up to take part in workshops – the most sign-ups E2M have ever had for a project! Several activities were oversubscribed, meaning 47 young people were placed on waiting lists. 124 took part in at least one session, with 87% of attendees of 5-week programmes (10 of the 14 activities) attending 2 or more sessions. Participants represented a range of ages, ethnicities, and were from across the Lancaster and Morecambe District, although skewed towards female (64%).

98 participants completed a survey at the end of the project. We found:

  • 100% enjoyed the activity they took part in
  • 100% learned something new
  • 98% felt good, great or amazing after taking part (2% felt “OK”)
  • 97% felt they made a positive difference in their community
  • 95% made one or more new friends

One participant said: “I love it,. I look forward to coming here. It’s something to do after school cos I don’t do any clubs after school and you just know that you’re gonna see people that you don’t see at school and they’re all really nice.”

We also conducted a survey with workshop facilitators and assistants. We found:

  • 100% enjoyed their experience
  • 100% felt the project had a positive impact on young people taking part
  • 100% felt they had good communication with E2M throughout the process

One volunteer described the sessions as: “A different space with a different power dynamic but you’re still learning something from a trusted adult, it’s a bit more informal… we’re here in our jeans and t-shirts […] it connects young people into other spaces […] they might be bored and think, oh I’ll come along to there. It builds their world a little bit“.

The project culminated in a youth-led Market Festival event in Lancaster Market Square on 17th December 2023. Young people sold items they had made, shared techniques they learned through interactive activities, and performed songs or plays they created on stage. An estimated 2,000 members of the public engaged with the event, either buying something, taking part in an activity or watching the performances.

One participant described their experience of the event: “I loved it! I got to make loads of new friends. Everyone was so nice. Seeing somebody wanting to buy something I made, it just makes my heart so happy because they have a part of me now with them. If you want to try Escape2Make for yourself, don’t even think about it, just do it. Everybody is just so welcoming and I now have a new skill that I love!”

Want to find out more about this project?

You can download the full impact report Here

You can read University of Cumbria’s full project evaluation Here

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