Arc news: April 2015

Raised Voices

Awards for Barking & Dagenham's female leadership programme!

Arc's Raised Voices girls' group, funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and LBBD MOPAC, is delighted to have been presented with a Department of Health Special Recognition Award at the House of Commons, and Community Group of the Year at the 2015 Barking & Dagenham Women's Empowerment Awards!

On 3 March 2015, Barking & Dagenham's professional theatre company was invited to the House of Commons in Westminster to receive a Special Recognition Award for its contribution to public health and wellbeing, from Jane Ellison MP – Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Public Health.

DoH Award with Jane Ellison MP DoH Special Recogition Award

Arc's Education Director Natalie Smith and General Manager Nita Bocking, with Raised Voices participant Esther Aderinto displaying the certificate presented by Jane Ellison MP


Then on 27 March, Arc’s Raised Voices group was presented with Community Group of the Year Award in the 2015 Barking & Dagenham Women's Empowerment Awards by popular singer, Dagenham-born Sandie Shaw, at a special ceremony at Barking & Dagenham College.

Women's Empowerment Award with Sandie Shaw

Sandie Shaw presenting the LBBD Women's Empowerment award to Arc'sNatalie Smith


The awards come as part of an exceptional month for Arc and the group, who were also featured in a hard-hitting new BBC3 TV documentary exploring FGM - ‘Stop Cutting Our Girls’, produced by Love Productions as a ‘Comic Relief Special’ first screened on 11 March.

Presented by actress Zawe Ashton, the hour-long programme featured footage of Arc's Education Director Natalie Smith leading an FGM awareness session for young people at Eastbury Comprehensive School in Barking. Natalie is joined by young female participants from the Raised Voices group, who have been touring to schools and professional platforms across the Borough about FGM as part of a wider exploration on violence against children and women.

Arc's Raised Voices with Zawe Ashton

Arc's Raised Voices group with actress Zawe Ashton, during filming at Eastbury Comprehensive School


The BBC3 documentary was accompanied by an Evening Standard article, featuring Natalie leading the group, published on 10 March:

Read Evening Standard Article, 10 March (PDF, 1600kb)


Meanwhile, Raised Voices participant, 15-year-old Tolu Aderinto wrote an article about FGM, which was published in the Huffington Post, 8 March (click link to view).


Alsoread the local news pages for Arc's Raised Voices tackling FGM - visit pages 4-5 of Barking & Dagenham Post E-Edition, 25 March, and the extra online article in Barking & Dagenham Post, 20 March 2015.


Arc's FGM INSETs for staff in primary and secondary schools
Arc’s commitment to the eradication of FGM continues with a series of powerful training sessions open to ALL Barking & Dagenham and Havering's primary and secondary school staff. Arc's specially created INSET is co-presented by Natalie and Leyla Hussein – one of the country’s leading Anti-FGM campaigners, and 2014 BAFTA nominee for her Channel 4 documentary ‘The Cruel Cut’. Leyla is also featured in the new BBC3 documentary.

Leyla first became involved with Arc when the Raised Voices participants were looking at issues affecting women and girls today – they were horrified to discover FGM and asked Leyla to talk to them about the issue affecting an estimated 107,000 women and girls in England and Wales, with 66,000 girls under the age of 15 at risk every year. A great champion of Arc’s Raised Voices group, Leyla wrote about the project and its participants in her Cosmopolitan online blog on 11 March (clink link to view).

Arc’s secondary school FGM INSETs in Barking & Dagenham and Havering are funded by Rosa’s FGM Small Grants Programme supported by Comic Relief, while the INSETs for Primary school staff are funded by the Department for Health and Local Communities.

Rosa UK


About Raised Voices
Raised Voices is Arc Theatre’s new female leadership/peer mentoring project – our latest to be funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation (following on from Finding the Words and Home Office GAGGK-funded Girls Have Their Say) and supported by the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham. Running for three years from 2013-16, whilst improving confidence and self-esteem, learning leadership techniques and developing speaking and listening skills, our group of young female participants from the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham, has been working on a powerful new issue-based film resource, leading to a comprehensive tour to local schools, youth centres and professional platforms.

For this project, they have decided to tackle some of the hardest-hitting issues affecting young women today, including self-harm, sexual exploitation, domestic violence and female genital mutilation. They wanted to start new conversations on the subjects that even adults are sometimes too nervous to talk about, and they are passionate about getting their voices heard!

Watch the first Raised Voices film here:


About Leyla Hussein
Leyla is a Psychotherapist/Lead Campaigner and Consultant, Co-Founder Of Daughters Of Eve, Hawa's Haven and Dahlia's Project. Her documentary ‘The Cruel Cut’ with Channel 4 on FGM in the UK was nominated for a BAFTA in 2014, The Amnesty Media Awards 2014, and Best Onscreen Talent category for the CDN Awards 2014.


Download Raised Voices booklet (pdf, 1.3MB)

Raised Voices booklet

Arc diary of events

Every Saturday
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Throughout '20
Young people for LB B&D MOPAC & Jack Petchey:
Raised Voices female leadership programme

Throughout '20
Nursery, infant & primary schools:
Oliver's Tales storytelling workshops

Throughout '20
Primary & secondary schools in London Boroughs:
Broadcast/Broadcast Junior online safety programme

Throughout '20
Primary & secondary schools for BeFirst/LB B&D:
Streets Ahead / Crossing Over road safety drama workshops

Throughout '20
London & south east primary schools for HS2 Ltd:
Playing it Safe health & safety programme

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