Action: Story!

2015 - 2016

A new approach to the redesign of public services.

Film Maker Julie Ballands and Action Story participants at Young Filmakers Awards
Action Story National Awards




We have developed a model called Action: Story! that uses participatory filmmaking to successfully involve service users in the co-production of public services. It was trialled with Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in Newcastle upon Tyne and Gateshead.

Introducing the Action:Story! programme

The programme aimed to show that participatory arts and design offer a better way of improving the quality of life of marginalised young people by improving the public services they use.

The pilot CAMHS programme was a partnership between the North East Clinical Commissioning Group Alliance, Local Authority Commissioners (Newcastle and Gateshead), Helix Arts, participatory design organisation Roots and Wings, and social innovation experts The Young Foundation.

We are delighted to announce that Tom won “The Jodie Wilkinson Inspirational Award” at Youth Focus North East #PoSBOs 2016. The PoSBOs were set up in 2010 to recognise and celebrate the achievements of young people and projects across the North East of England at a time when “ASBOs” were attracting so much bad publicity. Tom won the Inspirational award because he had been passionate about improving the lives of children and young people using mental health services.

Tom talks about how Helix Arts' Action:Story! programme helped him

Tom films for Action Story'

“Young people got to meet and speak to commissioners about what they were going to do. We got to feel reassured and knew things were going to change.

Tom, participant
Tom progression workshop at Baltic'

“It’s already had an impact. I’ve personally experienced different conversations with providers. It has challenged them and made them think differently about how they provide their services.”

Dr Dawn Scott, Principal Consultant in Public Health, Newcastle City Council
Tom's ceramic'

“The social aspect of the project has been fantastic, it’s lovely that friendships have been made and the young people are meeting up in their own time, like any young teens should.”

Julie Johnson, Mother of a participant

“The group have bonded better than any other similar group I have been involved with and I think that is because of using creative activities to engage them. You can see that their self esteem has really blossomed. Some of them make their own way here on public transport, which they would never have done before.”

Emmett, CYPS worker


Read the CAMHS Review Final Report.

Thanks to our Project Funders

This project was funded by the The Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

Want to find out more about this or similar programmes?

To find out more about we are currently delivering, or if you want to discuss referring yourself or someone onto this or similar programmes, please drop us a line.