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A Magazine for Sheffield

Somewhereto: Connecting young people with free space

Somewhereto_ is a service that helps young people access space to do what they love. By opening up hundreds of spaces across the UK, it aims to connect young people aged 16-25 with that space, providing them with the opportunity to showcase and develop their skills across sport, culture, the arts and enterprise. The project uses access to free space, physical and digital, to help young people in communities across every region of the UK. Since June 2010, somewhereto_ has unlocked over 380,000 sq ft of space across the UK which was previously empty or underused, the rent value of which would exceed £2 million. The service has negotiated over 4,000 direct matches between spaces and young people, reaching millions through high-profile activity around space. Though the service is nationwide, each region has a somewhereto_ regional delivery partner to act as the main point of contact within that area. For Yorkshire and the Humber this is Sheffield-based community arts charity Art in the Park. It is Art in the Park’s vision that all of Sheffield and its surrounding areas will be vibrant and creative communities, of which encouraging young people to explore their artistic and sporting abilities is a vital part. Having worked on somewhereto_ since 2011, Art in the Park will be acting as a regional delivery partner until at least 2014. The somewhereto_ website is designed to connect young people with the right space for them, allowing them to browse hundreds of different spaces across the UK. The site lists suitable spaces for every kind of activity, from large exhibition spaces and conference centres to outdoor spaces and disused retail outlets. Young people can then contact their regional delivery partner, working with them to make sure they are matched with their ideal space, even if that space is not already listed. And it works the other way too - space-holders can use the somewhereto_ website to register their space, making it available for young people to access. Lauren Clarke is a student at the University of Sheffield who used somewhereto_ to find a space to exhibit her photography. Working with the project, she has been able to exhibit her work in two prominent city centre locations, most recently in the Winter Gardens. “Somewhereto_ gave me the opportunity to exhibit my photographs for free, which was incredible and I’ve even sold a few prints because of people contacting me about my work. I’ve become more confident in my work because of the feedback people have given me after seeing my work on display. Even many of my friends have never seen what I do before,” Lauren said. “Anyone can show off their work, no matter how little money they have. It’s a stepping stone into making your name for yourself as a photographer or artist.” The central coordination for somewhereto_ is organised by Livity, a youth engagement agency that mentors young people from a broad range of backgrounds to co-create campaigns, content and communities for brands, government, charities and broadcasters. Since December 2012, somewhereto_ has been funded by the Big Lottery Fund to support its UK-wide expansion over the next four years. This has meant the opening up of thousands more spaces and the engagement with hundreds of thousands of young people, recognising the skills and training gained by those involved, as well as supporting youth enterprise nationwide. For more information about somewhereto_, including how to access or register a space, visit the somewhereto_ website or contact Cassie at Art in the Park: 0114 268 6813 or [email protected] )

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