YOUNG offenders and those at risk of offending learnt new skills at a summer school.

The young people boosted their self-esteem and confidence thanks to Summer Arts College, an annual scheme run by Hampshire Cultural Trust and Hampshire Youth Offending Team.

During two weeks of arts-based activities in July and August, the group of six teenagers aged between 13 and 17 explored the theme of Calm and Chaos during a series of workshops.

They also enjoyed visits to the current Artist Rooms: Agnes Martin exhibition at The Gallery in Winchester Discovery Centre and the Gerhard Richter show at the John Hansard Gallery in Southampton.

The project culminated in an exhibition of the group’s own work at the City Space gallery along with publication of their photographs and poems in a zine - a small-circulation, self-published work. On successful completion of the Summer Arts College course, the participants were awarded Discover, Explore and Bronze Arts Awards.

Clare Wolf, Employment and Training Personal Adviser for Hampshire Youth Offending Team (HYOT), said: “Our aim is to provide a safe, warm and welcoming environment where young people can express their thoughts and feelings.

"We also aim to build people’s resilience, so that they feel more comfortable in trying new things and pushing themselves out of their comfort zone.

"All of these factors can go a long way towards keeping young people out of the youth justice system or preventing them from re-offending, which is the ultimate aim for any young person coming through our doors.

"Every year we say that Summer Arts College has been the ‘best ever’, but this year, from HYOT’s perspective, I really think it was.”