Chris Cowan and Eleanor Vale, Loudmouth Founders and Directors – 1994 and 2019!
One of Loudmouth's Directors, Chris Cowan reflects on a quarter of a century of Loudmouth and the exciting plans for the year ahead.
Happy New Year! Hope you all have a great 2019 as it is a big year for us. Unbelievably in February 2019 we celebrate Loudmouth’s 25th birthday!
Eleanor Vale and I started Loudmouth in 1994 and have been the Company Directors ever since. We had both been on the same degree course at University with the final year looking at how theatre could be used in education or community work. Through this we found that we shared a belief that topics like relationships and sex were not taught well when we were at school. We believed that there could be ways that these could be taught in a much more honest, fun and engaging ways that allowed children and young people’s voices and opinions to be heard. This has been key to Loudmouth’s approach (and success!) and something we hope to continue for many years to come.
In the early years it was just the two of us however over the last quarter of a century we have grown to having 13 full time staff and together have delivered thousands of performances and workshops, working with over three quarters of a million children and young people! We are incredibly thankful for all of the schools and organisations that have booked us, the dozens of Loudmouth staff who have worked with us and of course the amazing young people who have taken part in our work.
Our big birthday year is a great time for us to push our work further and 2019 is set to be a busy and exciting year with a plethora (love that word) of changes to our programmes.
WIDER FOCUS ON DIFFERENT FORMS OF CHILD EXPLOITATION
During the year we are developing programmes that look widely at child exploitation covering exploitation through crime such as county lines as well as sexual exploitation. The drama and workshops will provide the usual Loudmouth approach to helping young people to understand the issues, spot signs, gain empathy and awareness of the experiences of victims / survivors and know where to go for support. If you would like to input into the development of this programme then press / click here.
EMOTIONAL AND MENTAL WELLBEING
We will also develop a brand new programme on mental wellbeing. This programme is currently at the research and consultation stage and aims to help schools to support their pupils on emotional wellbeing and mental health problems. You can take help us to shape this programme and be part of the development by filling in a questionnaire here.
We will also be doing some development of our RSE secondary programme Trust Me with a new interactive discussion activity on consent helping to challenge consent myths, clarify the law and open up debate.
Other developments for our silver jubilee year are a revamp of our popular Helping Hands programme with a Protective Behaviours revamp and extra activities in our RSE programmes on consent.
PUBERTY AND SAFEGUARDING
Our oldest running programme My Mate Fancies You will also have some developments in 2019. Ofsted, the Sex Education Forum (SEF) and UNESCO have all highlighted the need for children to know the correct terms for genitalia which can help them to understand their bodies and have the confidence and vocabulary to report abuse. The workshop will build on the existing education on physical changes in puberty to help children to understand the correct names for body parts including genitals.
There will be lots more news on the changes (and our birthday celebrations) over the next few months. If you would like to be among the first to hear about any updates and news (including updates on compuslory RSE, relationships and health education then press / click here.