Last week there was an absolute frenzy of people in the studio from the TV and Radio eager to meet our fantastic young SHINE participants.

We were a feature for Red Nose Day on Reporting Scotland, BBC Radio Scotland featured an interview with our Artistic Director Rachel Aisling Smith and we were also on Glasgow Live. Possibly even more! It was phenomenal and we are so thankful to everybody who approached us for this, to all the interviewers and crew. Everyone involved was great, they really took on our message and were fab with the boys.

So what is all the fuss about?

SHINE is a project funded by Comic Relief through which Toonspeak offer a safe, nurturing space for young people to develop personally through a mixture of life coaching and drama. Previously we have worked in schools, with young carers, LGBT young people, refugees and asylum seekers amongst more.

This group consists of 4 brilliant young boys all around the same age who struggle for different reasons in larger groups. Over the past 10 weeks it has been so heart warming to see how they have developed. There have been so many wee breakthroughs that have made all of the staff so proud. We created this bespoke project for them realising that they would really benefit from SHINE.

The relationship that Libby McArthur and Sarah Bradley have created with them is really special. They work with the boys every week and have helped them come on so far! They openly talk about things that have always troubled them and they are starting to develop skills to handle situations, process some of their feelings and we have seen such a change in these short 10 weeks. We have seen a shift in their emotional well being already.

Thanks to Comic Relief we can offer this support to young people across Glasgow and really tailor it to the needs of the participants, we are very responsive across the board, but this enables us to talk this a step further.

It was absolutely amazing to see how the young people coped with 6 strangers come into their wee studio with cameras, boom bar and mics. They handled it so well. Libby’s friend, fellow actress Jane McCarry (Isa from Still Game) was invited along as a special guest to meet the boys. They were hilarious, all had a total laugh. It was when they started speaking about how they felt coming to Toonspeak though that it became evident how much it means to them. You see a real shift in how they speak, evidently proud of their group.

We are funded for 3 years thanks to Comic Relief so we can continue this good work, and we will now open up this project to other young people in the new term with the boys integrating and taking more of a mentor role welcoming new young people in.

Quote of the day

Jane “Do you think I look older or younger than Iza”

The boys “Older!”

Take a look for yourself here!


If you know any young people or groups you think could benefit from SHINE get in touch

Call (0141) 552 0234 OR email