Arts and Creativity

Sponsored by Creative Scotland


By giving young people the skills, confidence and opportunities to explore their creativity, these finalists have opened up pathways for our stars of the future!

Arts & Creativity Finalists

Giving young people the opportunities to participate in a range of art allows their self-esteem, health and social wellbeing to be greatly enhanced. This years three finalists of our Arts & Creativity category are inspirations to the youth work sector. Their incredible commitment to supporting young people through creative approaches has allowed them to overcome barriers, reconnect with young people’s needs and support them to find their confidence and have a voice.

Lyra’s Young Artists Programme

Lyra’s Young Artist Programme is an extraordinary art project in an extraordinary place. Lyra works with young people who face the profound challenges of poverty, racial and social inequality, in a vibrant, community-focussed area of Edinburgh – albeit one in which deprivation casts a long shadow.

The programme brings young artists together with arts professionals from Scotland and abroad to work side-by-side on world-class projects and productions, with a focus on individual needs and working with families. And everything is free, from travel to trips to healthy snacks, removing the barriers to taking part.   

Their youth arts workers build positive relationships with every participant, providing a safe, fun atmosphere where children are supported to express themselves creatively and discover their potential. This encourages children to believe in their abilities, raising self-esteem. 

Lyra’s positive outcomes speaks to the success of their model:  

Beyond Earlston & At Birkill House CIC 

This is a unique partnership between rural arts and rural youth work, working together to change the lives of young people. If you listen carefully you may hear the alpacas and moorit sheep in the background.  

Beyond Earlston is a youth work project supporting young people to improve their emotional health and wellbeing and life chances through one-to-one support and group activities.  

Birkhill House is an animal assisted and crafting centre whose motto is caring, creativity and collaboration.  

Textiles, fleece crafting, pewter work, storytelling and traditional crafts, and a variety of very cute animals and birds.  This partnership offers these young people an opportunity to engage with arts and creativity, build skills and have fun, it is making a huge difference to the lives of everyone involved.  

Some of the young people involved had this to say: “This project gave me hope, they believed in me always. We all need a cheerleader at time to remind us we are worthy and capable. I feel like we changed my life together.” 


For many of the young people the HYPE team work with, education has not been a positive experience.  But their youth work approach within the arts has a powerful impact on this by creating a positive learning environment, where young people don’t feel boxed in.  

An outstanding feature which contributes to the success of HYPE is the strong commitment to working closely with partners like Firefly Arts.  Young people work with tutors to devise the programme, making sure it works for everyone involved. Through photography, media skills and arts and crafts, young people explore skills they did not know they had. It builds confidence, breaks down barriers to learning and ultimately gives young people ownership of their future path for life and work.  

At its core is a strong and flexible youth work approach to this skills-based project. The goal: supporting young people to make the positive transition between school, work and further education. 

One young person said: “HYPE had so many courses that boosted my self-esteem and there was always something for everyone. It benefited me because everyone treats you like an adult which actually makes you want to learn which helped me more than school. It helped with my anxiety too.”