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Award-winning team making a big impact on Middlesbrough

A drama group that has been changing lives for a decade has been recognised for its work.

The Impact Drama Group supports people with special educational needs, helping to reducing social isolation.

The project won the ‘Outstanding Communication’ category in Middlesbrough Council’s recent team awards for its role in empowering members to get involved in their local communities.

Team members use the world of drama to promote understanding across the town, delivering stage performances and short films for social media and training.

The group also works with local organisations like Cleveland Police and the charity MIND to shine a light on the perspective and life experiences of those with learning difficulties through a creative medium, to promote acceptance and encourage inclusion of this potentially vulnerable group.

Those taking part are supported in a fun atmosphere that encourages them to participate both in the group and in their wider community, building self-esteem and life skills.

A mother of one of the group members praised the team, saying: “My son has been a member of the Impact Drama Group ever since it first started.

“Before the drama group started he did not have much confidence in joining in activities with other people. He was embarrassed if he noticed anybody watching him, and would stop what he was doing and go into his shell.

“Working with the drama group has made him more outgoing in front of people.

“I never expected him to perform on a stage in front of an audience but he loves it.

“He puts everything into his performance, and when one show has finished he can’t wait for the next one to start.

“The drama group sessions are the highlight of his week and he would be lost without it.”

Middlesbrough Council Chief Executive Tony Parkinson, who hosted the awards evening, said: “Our annual awards are a celebration of the passion, focus, commitment and creativity of our staff, and nowhere is that more evident than in the work of the Impact Drama Group.

“Their sessions are making an important contribution to the building of strong, inclusive and understanding communities and a town that is more accepting.

“Their richly deserved award is recognition for the sort of work that makes a real and lasting difference to people’s lives.”