Raising Awareness, and the Bar for Social Justice, at The Big House
UNSDG 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all.
UNSDG 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
“The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals are a call for action by all countries – poor, rich and middle-income – to promote prosperity while protecting the planet. They recognize that ending poverty must go hand-in-hand with strategies that build economic growth and address a range of social needs including education, health, social protection, and job opportunities, while tackling climate change and environmental protection. ” – United Nations
This VidMob Good Story highlights one societal factor that drives young people to commit crime and a creative solution to that challenge invented by a trailblazing nonprofit in the United Kingdom (UK).
Raising the Bar for Social Justice in the UK
“Nearly half of young men, and two thirds of young women in custody aged between 16 and 21 have recently been in statutory care.” – House of Commons Justice Committee (UK)
According to the list of risk factors identified by the UK Home Office, “Being in care (particularly those in residential care and those with interrupted care histories)” is one of the key drivers behind child criminal exploitation. Despite that connection, as of 2019, there was no centralized plan in place in the UK to address that.
The Big House (TBH) is a nonprofit in Great Britain that gives young people who are finding life difficult — and who’ve also been through the care system — access to creative programs, the performing arts, and the behavioral resources they need.
“Our aim is to get a young person comfortable in their own shoes, [to help them] manage their emotions, communicate well, and to realize their goals.” – Maggie Norris, Founder, CEO + Artistic Director, The Big House
Founded in 2013 by writer and director Maggie Norris, who also has extensive experience working with ex-offenders, TBH provides a support network and a platform for self-expression to the care community.
Often as a result of their experiences, care leavers find themselves at a higher risk of entering the criminal justice system. This trend holds especially true for young teenagers in the UK, and, for young women in particular, it can also increase their likelihood of repeat, or worsening future offenses.
“Care leavers are estimated to represent between 24-27% of the adult prison population [in the UK]… despite less than 1% of under 18s entering local authority care each year.” – Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (UK)
To counter that, The Big House gives its community the behavioral tools, support, and the opportunities young people need to get a better footing in life. The organization also lends its dynamic and thought-provoking presence to the UK Arts scene.
Finally, TBH also happens to help save British taxpayers thousands of British Pounds (GBP) for every young person who avoids falling into the criminal justice system: a penal system which costs 4.37 billion GBP to operate in 2019-20 alone.
“How do we get that message out there to the public, that organizations like this are worth investing in?” – Maggie Norris, The Big House
For TBH, despite providing so much public good, 2020 — just like every year — was a fight for survival.
Typically funded by a mix of private donations, foundations, government grants, the organization’s corporate programs, and ticket sales from their public theater performances, a world reeling from COVID-19 left TBH struggling to raise awareness and funds while severely impacted by social distancing constraints.
Efforts to provide consistent long-term support for program participants during this time was also challenging for the small team, faced with fire drills from all corners.
With so much to manage at once, TBH worried about how to continue raising public awareness for their work, reach the care community, showcase their creative work, and ultimately continue to support social good.
Curious to explore using video as a new way for the organization to grow brand awareness, draw attention to upcoming theater performances, and to connect to their audience at large, the partnership with VidMob ultimately helped TBH to extend the reach of their small team at a critical time.
The collaboration resulted in the production of two versions of a high energy, high-impact hero video, which the nonprofit used in email marketing, and to grow its presence across social media, starting with LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter.
The new marketing asset helped the nonprofit to reach its followers using video for the first time, and to grow awareness for its work during a year of real hardship for its community.
The experience also created opportunities for TBH to consider expanding their brand — and program — in new ways, like investing in photography and videography capabilities, making video a permanent feature of their public-facing work, and exploring social networks like TikTok, and YouTube, to reach more of the care community while showcasing their true talent.
We can’t wait to help them continue that journey, and to share more high impact stories from The Big House in the year ahead.
“The Big House isn’t big on social media yet, but we want to expand. Video is a way to grow awareness.”
The Creator Network
The VidMob Foundation is fueled by the active engagement of incredible freelance creative professionals on the VidMob platform. They’re some of the world’s most talented creators, and, time and again, have willingly dived in to offer their time and skills for charities around the world. No matter the size of the ask, or the significance of the cause, these creators believe in using creativity as a force for good, just as we do.