shmu's Summer of Fun 2021

A look back at our school holiday activities for young people

“Best summer ever, shmu is awesome, I can’t wait to go back”  - particpant

Thanks to funding from Cashback for Communities, the Fairer Aberdeen Fund and YouthLink Scotland we were able to offer a dynamic summer programme to young people aged 11-18 living in our regeneration areas.  

Spanning the school holidays, we offered introductions to filming, radio broadcasting, making music and outdoor activities both in the sunshine and under canvas (when the weather was less favourable), where young people learned to connect with and care about our surroundings and environment.   

All the activities were created to promote confidence, resilience, skills-development, wellbeing and just as importantly, to give young people the opportunity to have fun, play and meet new friends.  

Given we could not offer any face-to-face activities with our Youth Media participants last summer, we also ensured our existing Saturday group managed to attend their postponed activities including trips to the cinema and the new Aberdeen Science Centre.  

Young people were supported to create films using their imagination to develop their storytelling and all were willing participants both in front of and behind the camera. In radio, they researched content to prepare scripts for their hour- long recordings, learned how to operate a radio desk and interview people.  

Independent music tutors supported our programme and young people were delighted to learn that they did not need to be able to play or an instrument or sing well to create music. Importantly, they also learned that sound and rhythm are essential to media production. At the beginning of summer when we asked our newcomers if they felt they could write a song, make a film or record a radio show, they seemed to think these would be skills beyond their capability but within hours, they could see they all had an instinctive creativity that when encouraged and praised, lead to wonderful productions. 

A legacy from working outdoors over summer is a desire to learn more about the local area where shmuHQ is located in Woodside. Youth Media participants are keen to understand the local history of the area and have been filming ‘on location’ at various places of interest from the river to Jacob’s Ladder which was created to allow the safe crossing to Grandholm Bridge of workers from their textile work at Grandholm Mill in the 1920’s and beyond.  

The riverside path there is severely corroded and could quickly disappear unless proper repairs are carried out. Our young people now know the importance of looking after our heritage and we were delighted that they wanted to use the skills they learned with our summer programme to highlight the need for and importance of this restoration. An ongoing project where young people can showcase the need to protect our local culture past and present is a wonderful opportunity to build on what was a fantastic, creative summer of fun at shmu.  

Thanks to our amazing staff, tutors and funders who made this possible but thanks most of all to the incredible young people we work with and continue to support who want to use the skills they learn with us for a greater good in their communities.