Arts & Crafts

Everyone’s a Picasso at the Venny

We get to create whatever we want

The art room is, very, popular at the playground, children and young people get the opportunity to be as creative as they want. They can use the space and equipment to express themselves through art and craft and develop their skills as an artist. whether it be graffiti art, origami, poetry, dance, music the opportunities are endless. We have a wide range of resources available, and at times have artists visit us to work with the young people, recently we worked with ZAP Graffiti Arts creating a mural for a building on our grounds, Movema to celebrate Chinese New Year, The Giants Project creating dreamcatchers that went on display at the Tate Gallery.

Other projects include an exploration of Keith Haring’s work and visiting an exhibition at the Tate Gallery which resulted in some of the young people receiving an AQA in the work they produced. Annual events that they take part in every year is Halloween, decorating the building and creating spooky installations for the hall and garden. They also make crafts and artwork for varied holiday celebrations throughout the year including, Easter, Chinese New Year, Christmas, International Women’s Day, Black History Month and Mental Health awareness week. Along with using art and craft to celebrate these notable dates we also explore the subjects and current affairs via discussion and other activities.

Mediums we have also focused on in the art room this year have included learning how to use Watercolour, Acrylic, painting on canvas, spray painting, batik, collage and many more.


My mum doesn’t let me near the kitchen at home, we get to cook lots of different foods

The cooking workshops offer the opportunity for the children and young people to learn life skills which will prove invaluable and which they’ll take it to their adult life. They get to learn about nutrition, personal hygiene, health & safety and also how to budget for meals. They prepare meals for their peers and families to enjoy.

Accredited qualifications, junior master chef, online cooking sessions with families, work with other agencies providing information and advice for young people and families on health & nutrition etc.

Soft Play

The soft play room or softy as it’s mostly referred to, has padded mats on the floor and around the walls to maximise safety. With different shaped blocks for the children and young people to use. The room provides a safe but spacious place for physical and rough and tumble activities. The room is used for creative, imaginative play and a place where they can relax (chill). The softy is suitable for all ages however children and young people are only allowed in with their own age group, so time in their is limited.

Trips and Camps

It was really really good I loved all the activities but didn’t like the big hill. I loved the rocket experiment it was cool even though Rachael and Shirley’s won. It was great to be with friends. I want to go again. Grace – age 8

We are passionate about the positive impact trips and residentials have on the young people, it gives opportunities for the young people to build positive relationships and a sense of belonging and togetherness and some really nice childhood memories.

They offer the chance to experience something they may not normally have the opportunity to do.



International Youth Exchanges

The Hands4you project was a youth exchange that arose from the slogan that SOPRO carries for more than 20 years, “Small Gestures that change the World” because we believe that a small gesture can make great changes and every gesture undertaken in this project was special.

The project was aimed at young people with fewer opportunities, between 14 and 17 years old, and was held in Barcelos and Braga (Portugal) from December 3 to 13, 2019, involving 35 young participants and 14 leaders.


Promoting human rights education, with a focus on cultural diversity and active citizenship, through the creation and development of volunteer activities by the young participants it was our great challenge in this project.


  • Work team, Icebreakers, Energizers
  • Commemoration of the International
  • Volunteer Day
  • Workshops about Humans Rights
  • Presentation of Volunteer Projects
  • Volunteering
  • Street Performance
  • Municipality of Barcelos
  • Cultural Visits
  • Thematic Nights
  • Other Activities.


“I believe that youth exchanges are an excellent opportunity for young people to develop new skills, to become aware of socially relevant issues and to discover new cultures and new habits of life different from those with which they come into contact daily.
This exchange, in particular, enabled the different participants to be trained with the knowledge, attitudes, values and skills necessary both to defend human rights and to have the basic skills to implement their own workshops and training on human rights with other young people in their community. I consider this exchange to have been extremely important not only for young people, thus providing them with an opportunity to become active citizens and agents of change, but also for leaders as they have managed to share different activities, methods and techniques in this way. with others, returning to their institutions certainly with new perspectives and points of view. As, a leader, the impact of this project made me much more aware and motivated.”

João Silva – SOPRO


  • Further development of personal and social skills such as self-confidence
  • Development of skills at personal, social and soft skills levels promoting the personal development and growth of young people towards autonomy, stimulating their resilience and providing them with life skills
  • Respect for unity and diversity, reinforcing the feeling of a community and, therefore, a cohesive and, above all, tolerant Europe, demystifying national borders and instilling a more active spirit in young European citizens
  • Acquisition of skills for reflection, introspection, self-criticism, autonomy; determination; know hear; ability to work as a team
  • Greater mutual knowledge, interaction and relaxation of the elements of the different groups, promotion of multiculturalism and sharing personal experiences in order to foster feelings of belonging and union.
  • Greater spirit of initiative, personal skills, ability to improvise, problem solving, acquisition of communication skills, reduction of language barriers and encouragement in the use of the English language among the young participants.
  • Acquired skills to set goals, objectives, tasks, define work strategies and overcome obstacles.
  • Acquired leadership skills and time management and team projects.


We consistently offer volunteering opportunities for our young people, maybe their completing their Duke of Edinburgh Awards or need a workplace placement for their final year in school. Some just want the opportunity to give back and will help with projects in the local community, whether that be community clean up days and planting bulbs, fundraising, providing activities/opportunities for other children and young people. They may start or want to volunteer to overcome barriers in their life ie. lack of confidence etc, build their cv’s, implement change or improve outcomes for young people.

Case Study

One young person who volunteered at the playground and was in full-time education completed the National Citizenship Service Volunteering Programme and then had the opportunity to go to South Africa on a volunteering programme. In order to participate in this, they had to fundraise quite a lot of money. We supported them in doing this by way of organising a Fun Day and holding a Christmas raffle which in total raised £400 which left a shortfall of £600. We nominated them to the David Lewis Association who support young people fulfil their potential by giving grants. Part of the application process was to outline what difference this grant would make to them and why they wanted to go. This is what they said “I would love to be a teacher and that is my long-term goal. For me to achieve this, I really need to build on a few things and confidence is one of them. I know what I’m talking about but getting it across to people I sometimes struggle with especially talking to them, I usually ask my mum to ask for me or shy away from situations where I have to be vocal. Recently I attended a course with the playground on heritage with the City Council and had to do a presentation at the end with another young person. For the first time ever I was able to participate fully and enjoyed it and would like to build on this. The trip would encourage independence as I would, although with other young people I would be on my own without my parents.

I feel more comfortable when I am helping others achieve their goals I think going so far from my comfort zone and with new people will give me the push that I need, and the opportunity to grow in all aspects of my personal development. I have been volunteering at the playground now for 4 years and going to South Africa would be a new challenge.

The grant will not only make a difference to me but the community I will be helping. I will allow me to experience a new culture and those who are less fortunate, which I believe is especially important.

They applied and after a 2-stage application process were successful in receiving a grant for £600.

#Making memories #Fulfilling Dreams #Setting Goals #Give something back

The two words I would use to describe my trip to South Africa would be life changing.

During this trip I have really built on my confidence considering before we came out to South Africa I barely spoke to anyone new (and even people who I’ve known for over 5 years) and if I did it would be very basic conversations but over the past 9 days I’ve spoken a lot. I also realised I am stronger than I knew, since being here I’ve faced lots of things I fear, such as planes, being away from my family and talking to new people but I got through all of that and ended up doing better than I would’ve thought.

Now am home I am going to continue to do my volunteering back in The Venny and use the many skills and techniques I was taught on this trip to make my sessions better as well as plan my own events as I now know I am able of putting plans into action.

“Thank you to everyone who helped me raise the funds I needed to make this trip possible. Especially, The David Lewis Association. I wouldn’t have been able to go without your help. Thank you all”.

Volunteer opportunities are tailored to the young person.


The Playground recognises that its work, and the effects of its work, need to be carried out with an understanding of its impact on the environment.

Throughout our work we will actively seek to minimise the negative impact of our activities upon the environment.

Children and young people using the Playground will be actively involved in the development and implementation of our Environmental Policy. A culture of respect and responsibility towards our environment and natural resources will be cultivated.

Developing project work around environmental and conservation issues with children and young people.

Introducing, children and young people in issues of recycling and environmental awareness.

Building a bug house.

Making bird boxes.

Composting in our garden area.

Targeted Support

Targeted support is aimed at addressing emerging issues and needs relating to children and young people attending our playground and within the local community. Working with outside agencies to address these issues such as British Red Cross, Liverpool Children’s Safeguarding Partnership, Young Addaction, Street Doctors providing a joined-up approach.

Promoting diversity and cultural events play a part in the targeted sessions. Activities and projects include: Mental Health Awareness, show racism the Red Card, celebrating Black History month, first aid, bullying, obesity, poverty, e-safety, sexual health & healthy relationships.

Speke-Up Project

Statistics clearly showed that Speke/Garston ward has high levels of Child Criminal Exploitation.

We felt a need to educate young people and their families on issue-based topics such as Child Criminal Exploitation, Child Sexual Exploitation and County lines.

To tackle these issues, we proposed to do a 12-week pilot scheme with the aim focusing on all the above issues opening on a Thursday evening for an extra hour between 8-9pm.

Speke Up project ran over a twelve-week period working with young people within the playground and on an outreach basis.

The impact of the project seen around 60 young people and several families who took part in our social media questionnaire’s, highlighting how they could identify red flags if their child were being exploited.

The playground benefited from being able to offer extended opening hours of a Thursday evening on senior session between 8 – 9 pm. During this time, we worked along-side other services such as Young Addaction, Liverpool Sexual health council services, street doctors, D Street media and the CELLS Project.

CELLS Project (primary object is to educate children and young people to the consequences of crime) took the portable Cell into the car park on the old Somerfield site we had around 30 young people turn up for the event in which they stayed engaged and participated in. This was with the help of the newly formed Detached team who alongside the Venny staff kept the young people engaged during this session. The CELLS project also offered a further two sessions inside the Venny for young people on Crime and Consequence. Prison life with restorative justice.

D Street Media hosted a performance looking at bullying and suicide, CCE, this had a real impact on the young people that watched the performance you could see it had an emotional impact on all of them. They then performed a different ending just to show how you can change outcomes.

Street Doctors showed the young people different first aid methods if they were on the streets and one of their friends was stabbed using a method of applying pressure with an item of their clothing to stop bleeding. All young people really engaged in this session.

Addaction came into the centre on three separate sessions looking at drugs and their effects. Alcohol and its effects using the beer googles to demonstrate how their vision blurs. The young people engaged and spoke about different scenarios they have experienced or have heard about from their peers.

C-Card training was given to the young people over the age of 14 in which they learned about sexual health and how to stay safe.

All young people involved in these sessions have gained knowledge and greater understanding of issues and topics covered.

Bike Right

Leading up to the spring and summer when more children and young people are out and about on their bikes we team up with Bike Right and offer bicycle maintenance and road safety sessions with the hope of making the young people aware of their safety and other road users whilst out riding. The sessions offer Level 1, 2 & 3 Road Safety Training.

Sports & Fitness

With Speke/Garston ward obesity levels higher than the Liverpool average.

Sport & Fitness sessions were organised.

A daily challenge that included: warm-up, circuit, body weight and cool down sessions.

7 young people volunteered for the challenge each with their own personal stories as to why they wanted to do it.

The sessions ran for a 4-week period three times per week. With each young person completing their personal challenge.

At the end of the 4-week period:

  • 7 participants increased their daily exercise by 100%
  • 3 participants then went on to participate in PE lessons in schools, when they hadn’t previously.
  • 4 felt more confident at doing exercise, as routines were simple and easy to follow.
  • 7 participants will achieve an AQA in Exercising safely and Effectively to improve Health & Well-being in circuit training.