An expanding North East Catholic Education trust has launched one of the largest, most ambitious school projects of its kind to highlight the power of unity, hope and aspiration during a time of great challenges in education.

Journeys of Hope is a long-term project that brings together primary and secondary schools within Bishop Chadwick Catholic Education Trust along with its local communities through highly creative and visual arts. Its goal is to demonstrate how young people can adapt to the current situation facing schools across the country and continue to feel inspired and engaged with learning.

Initially around 12 schools based across Sunderland, South Tyneside and County Durham are involved in the project. As the trust expands during the project it is hoped that more schools will join and thousands more pupils and teachers may take part.

This ambitious project is led by local performer Mike Mcgrother who has worked with schools and young people for many years. Working with teachers in the schools, Mike will help to deliver a range of creative and musically inspired projects. Journeys of Hope will be integrated into the schools’ curriculum where the project will be brought to life through music, dance, and visual arts.

Brendan Tapping, CEO, Bishop Chadwick Catholic Education Trust, said: “More than ever, it’s vital that schools play a pivotal role in bringing together their local communities in such difficult times.

“Journeys of Hope exemplifies how we are adapting, as whole school communities, in the face of great change to maintain and strengthen the learning, personal and spiritual development of every child.

“The activities within the project demonstrate important values such as resilience, unity and community and raise aspirations among all our children, and their families, in the face of adversity.”

The project includes a wide range of activities taking place across an 18-month period. It will see pupils creating a cross school version of a well-known Christmas carol, both a song and a video, pupils composing their own music and telling the stories of local community heroes in a creative way.

Mike Mcgrother said: “Journeys of Hope is one of the largest and most exciting community projects I’ve been involved in.

“The activities have been carefully planned to embody the key values and message we want to get across to our entire school community, inspiring learning, togetherness and excellence through the creative arts, where the ethos of Christianity shines through.

“I can’t wait to see the incredible work of the pupils and the performances that will result. Virtual creative arts will play a key role in the success of the project, enabling us to come together and celebrate positivity, learning, aspiration, and hope.”

For more information about the Journeys of Hope project please visit http://bccet.org.uk