For 30 years Youth Arts Work has always been prevalent in South Ribble, due to the different youth theatres, summer schools and performing arts projects run by the ex - Lancashire Young’s People’s Worker - Ron Blenkinship. Ron developed a passion for the arts at an early age and worked professionally in the theatre during the 1960’s and 70’s. He became heavily involved in Theatre in Education (TIE) and through this work really developed his skills in youth arts work, seeing the true benefits that the performing arts can have on young people.
Once Ron left professional theatre, he trained as a Youth Worker enabling him to marry his passions for the performing arts and young people.
For over 25 years Ron worked for Lancashire Young People’s Service running a variety of Youth Arts Projects including Open Space, Free Space, Password, Red Rose Youth Theatre, J.A.W.S and Powerfource. During this time he worked with thousands of young people, developing their skills, their confidence and empowering them to believe in themselves. Many of those young people would work with Ron for years, starting as a young people at 11 years old, and going on to become Senior young people, voluntary Youth arts workers and some, professional youth workers.
The performing arts work that he and his teams created influenced and inspired so many young people that when Ron decided to retire from Lancashire Young People’s Service in 2011 many of those previously involved in the work came together to ensure that the positive youth arts work could continue into the future. Previously, all the work had been supported financially by Lancashire Young People’s service, so with the support of Ron and the YPS ex-young people and workers came together to create their own voluntary organisation, forming a committee and securing voluntary workers to continue the work. ‘Double ‘R’ Arts’ was born! The aim of the organisation would be to provide positive youth arts work, using the ethos and methods that Ron had used, ensuring that many more young people in the future would be influenced and inspired by this work.
Unfortunately in July 2012 Ron Blenkinship passed away from cancer. However his legacy lives on.