The Affinity Alliance

The Affinity Alliance is a group of four services; Amplify, Reframe, Tiny Tots and The Arts Award Centre. These focus on supporting care experiences young people's creative practice and experiences with a goal of establishing belonging, sense of community and identity, within wider society.


The Amplify curriculum is ambitious, building vital skills, experiences, and values by giving care experienced young people access to human story-based learning experiences. We know through the insights from psychologist Daniel Willingham research that our brains “privilege” story. Stories help pupils to make sense of new content, they help pupils make connections. Stories across any curriculum help young people to know more, remember more and able to do more.   

A people without the knowledge of their history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.

Our Amplify curriculum offers the opportunity for young people to make connections with wider people in society, to understand and engage with wider society.
An image of a mentor speaking to students
an image of a chef teaching a student how to cook

It is not enough to say that we are teaching history or geography or any other subject, because it’s the national curriculum, our rational needs to go beyond this

Curriculum Intent

Our intent refers to the curriculum reflecting local, national, and international context, by addressing typical opportunity gaps in care experienced young people’s knowledge, skills, and experiences. Our Amplify curriculum carefully considers what it is that young people ‘might not have experienced, through their journey in care’.  

Amplify is funded by The National Lottery and Virtual Schools Rotherham. The programme runs for 4 months in total, in an after-school capacity, to not affect in school learning. This year our young people have visited Blend Kitchen, Magna, Escape Rooms, Wentworth Woodhouse for afternoon tea, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Clifton Park Museum, to name a few. 

We have supported 10 young people this year, and they can’t wait for Amplify in 2024!

“ I had no idea about all the jobs that are out there, and meeting people who have all these different jobs has really opened my eyes”

“I loved the residential, having time together to celebrate all the activities we have completed together, I really like the animation workshops delivered by the peer mentors”

“ Being a peer mentor has really developed my skills, I was able to use this experience to get a part time job around college, as I now have work experience."

“I have now decided I want to be an English Teacher, I am definitely off to University."


Our Reframe Service provides one – to – one or small group support to empower our young people experiencing care, an opportunity to discover through a creative approach a sense of self, and belonging, utilising story telling methods.

‘Listing events is mere chronology and provides no story. Story requires a plot’. Young people with experience of the care have all experienced trauma and many are dealing with complex trauma which sits with them at an unconscious level. All our young people will have experienced avoidant attachment, and, more likely, ambivalent/resistant patterns of attachment with their birth parents. Since we know that early childhood experiences are predominantly sensorimotor, these patterns are imprinted in the ‘procedural’ or ‘body’ memory.

In terms of existing life story experience, most will have been given a linear or chronological representations of their personal histories, usually written by someone else. While this work will have provided them with a record of important life events, as West points out above, ‘mere chronology’ isn’t story. Unfortunately, many of our young people will not have been given the quality time or neurolinguistic tools to make narrative sense or meaning of their lives. In most cases, young people will not have been guided by anyone with an understanding of how personal narratives are structured, co-constructed and operate in terms of offering personal meaning, transformation and healing. This means that our young people are often trapped to varying degrees by their memories of trauma, without any neurolinguistic processing tools and therefore unable to sit comfortably in the present or move their lives forward to the future.

“plot requires a transformation. There must be an initial situation, a change involving some sort of reversal, and a resolution that marks the change as significant.’

An image of some hands holding a ball of wool and a crochet tool

We support our care experienced young people to transform their own lives, and to plan their goals, whether this be choosing GCSE options, returning to further education, or identifying the employment sector they wish to work in. There Reframed sense of self empowers our young people to look to their future.


Reframe is a tried and tested model, which has been generously funded by The National Lottery, and Virtual Schools Rotherham and Cameron Grants for Innovation. Affinity continues each year to seek funding to support our young people through our Reframe service.


The Reframe service operates within 40 Guided learning hours, to ensure our young people have an opportunity to complete their Arts Award Bronze as part of the process. Since the conception of Reframe in 2021 – we have supported 40 young people to access this programme.

“I never thought through creative practice I would slow down, have time to think about my future, and plan what it is I want to achieve in my life”

“I had no idea what I wanted to do after school, my head was full to the top of other things, I now have a college place and I am proud of myself”

“ I did not want to do my music anymore, I thought I could just move on, I have now realised this is part of who I am, and I write music to tell my story, I have even shared my music at Jam sessions, in front of strangers.”

“ my memories play like a film in my head, and to have the time to process this has really helped me to understand me”

the arts awards centre logo

Arts Award Centre

What is The Arts Award Centre?

Arts Award is a program designed to inspire young people to explore and engage with the arts, providing them with opportunities to develop their creativity, leadership, and communication skills. Here’s a breakdown of how Arts Award works:



Suitable for children from Early Years upwards.


The next level, allowing participants to delve deeper into their chosen art form.


Entry-level qualification at Level 1, recognizing the development of basic skills and participation.


Level 2 qualification, indicating a deeper engagement and understanding of the arts.


A Level 3 qualification, providing a more advanced and comprehensive exploration of the arts, with a higher level of personal commitment and leadership.

Am image of a cameraman filming the events at the platinum jubilee in Rotherham

The overarching goal of Arts Award is to encourage young people to explore, enjoy, and engage with the arts while nurturing their personal and creative development. It offers a holistic approach that goes beyond traditional skill assessments, emphasizing the journey of exploration and personal growth in the arts.



Participants can start at any level that suits them best, providing a flexible structure for individual or group engagement.

Affinity Programs: 

Organizations like Affinity offer Arts Award programs from Bronze to Gold levels through initiatives like Work and Enterprise Institute or Reframe.


Personal Progress: Rather than focusing on skill levels in a specific art form, Arts Award assesses the personal development and progress made by individuals through their engagement with the arts.

No Entry Requirements or Exams: 

There are no specific entry requirements, time limits, or exams. This makes Arts Award accessible to a wide range of participants.



Diverse Formats:

Participants are not confined to traditional written portfolios. They can present their creative work in various formats such as video, audio, photos, web pages, or PowerPoint slideshows.


UCAS Points:

Gold Arts Award is recognized as a Level 3 qualification and is worth 16 UCAS points, providing an added incentive for participants pursuing higher education.

The Goal

The overarching goal of Arts Award is to encourage young people to explore, enjoy, and engage with the arts while nurturing their personal and creative development. It offers a holistic approach that goes beyond traditional skill assessments, emphasizing the journey of exploration and personal growth in the arts.

Tiny Tots

What is Tiny Tots?

Tiny Tots provides care experienced young people with an opportunity to develop their own parental pedagogy. This focused parenting support operates in small cohorts of 10 people, taking a blended approach. We utilise face to face sessions with an integral ICT system which enables video calling for workshops, allows resources to be stored, and, most importantly, provides a safe space to learn. 

Who is it for?

Care experience parents would benefit from this programme whose children are between the ages of 0 – 3. The programme is appropriate for any care experienced parents how has been in care for 48 hours or longer during their childhood/adolescent years. They will need to commit to 2 hours a week of sessions over an 8-week period. There is one, one hour session planned where practitioners will work one on one creating the next steps timetable, so learning can continue. Each parent will receive a small resources pack, a £10 voucher for attending all sessions.

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What is covered in sessions with parents?

Every session has three key components to ensure we are giving parents developmental time. Our program is 40% theoretical and 60% practical. Our practical elements of the sessions are referral to as exploration stations, were parents practice what they have learnt At the end of session, we ask our parents to commit to 5 minutes of sailing time, where they sit with their child, hold their child, and or lay down on the floor with their child and whisper what they have learnt today together. Our flight time occurs between the live sessions. We ask parents to commit to 30 mins each week where they try new activities from our resources centre, or create their own, which we will talk about at the start of the sessions. 

Tiny Tots was funded in its first iteration by What Works Well in Social Care, our external evaluation is open to read in our Leadership Consortium section of the website. Tiny Tots is now in its 4th iteration have reached over 30 parents since the programme’s inception in March 2020. Rotherham Virtual Schools also commissioned our foster care programme called Tiny Tots Foster, were we worked with 15 Foster Carers. 

We would like to say a special thank you to out funders:

BBC Children in Need, What Works Well in Social Care, Rotherham Virtual Schools, and The Well and Trust.

The What works for Children's social care logo and the Early intervention Foundation logo
The Virtual School logo
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