Innocence and expression is a BBC Children in Need funded programme designed specifically to encourage young people (aged 8-18) to build their confidence, make new friends and embrace their creative sides.

This project is run on alternate Saturdays from 2-4pm.

This is the 3rd year the Innocence and Expression project has been running. Some feedback from BBC Children in need: Through this project, the children have gained confidence and pride in the work achieved, better team skills which is evident from the collaborative pieces developed and have a more aspirational outlook thanks to positive reinforcement and praise, when often the children only hear negative messages.

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On Saturday 10th October there was an Innocence & Expression session in which the participants had the opportunity to take part in an architectural and ornamental walk in the Arboretum Park as part of Artcore’s project, Invisible Boundaries -Sharing Heritage.

Participants learned about the different species of trees and how the park has changed since it opened for the public 175 years ago. They also learned about the history of the buildings, statues and ornaments within the park, including the Florentine Boar.

After the walk the participants created some rubbings by using a variety of leaves that they had collected during the walk.

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The session on the 26th September involved the children using watercolour paint. Designs based on the St Thomas church past present and future renovation project were created by the participants.

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On Saturday 12th September, the first session of the new term of Innocence and Expression was conducted.

In the session, the participating children had the exciting opportunity to explore new concepts such as the edge or boundaries of what would be a picture. As a society we can often see what is held within boundaries but we never explore what is surrounding them.

The mixed age group allowed a diversity of ideas to be developed. The children were encouraged to draw their ideas on paper with the theme of the Arboretum Park and what the park meant to them and created their own boundary by painting a frame in relation to those ideas.

The painted frames were part of the Invisible Boundaries project celebrations on the 19th September, allowing people to take their selfie while ‘inside’ the frame and make a memory with the 175th anniversary celebration of Britain’s first public park.

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