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THE HALFLING PROJECT:- Statement of changes to the project

After 3 years I am about to make the most radical change to The Halfling Project I could make short of closing it down completely.

I believe that it is only right to explain why I am doing this, and to thank all of you who have either taken part or supported the work.

Lets start at the start, which might help those who do not know the project.

The project was set for boys growing up and to cover education and events in their lives through the formative years.  It also had a strong special needs aspect.

In the original introduction to the project regarding autism and learning issues - one of it's key aspects I qualified  the range of conditions covered as "those that appear invisible to the average person/teacher /parent. Many of these conditions are on the autistic spectrum, but with some the jury is out - for the clarity of the work therefore all conditions may be broadly invisible to the average person - but may or may not be strictly within the autistic spectrum.

To try and keep separating conditions as autistic non autistic simply was not helpful and just basically playing  semantic's. 

Let's take an example of what was until recently written as a rare condition - dysgraphia - is it strictly speaking on the autistic spectrum - strictly at this point no - but it is likely that children with it will have levels of autism as well and importantly for the purposes of support in education it just need's action.  That other fun game in semantics is -  is the condition autistic or is it mental  illness? Parents in particular who don't yet understand how funding and support operates can find this all very confusing. Autism they are told is not an illness - that's right it's a difference in perception put simply but what makes a condition an illness? This confusion can be used to deprive SEN support and it is good that the project has managed to argue and win cases for extra support within school and exams.

So the project was designed to cut through long explanations and get to the point - understanding and support for those who need it, be it practical at the station or cutting through the red tape and jumping hurdles of bureaucracy.

Bullying and being different also have rose large - understanding what is not said is of as much sometimes more importance than what is said.

Depression and anxiety - anything which basically affects the well being of a child growing up.

It has been important that the project is not judgmental, and hopefully I have more often than not achieved this.

All this said, the project became best known for it's photography and encouragement of drama. Drama was often used to help understand or express problems and is a wonderful release for many participants within the project.

I hope one of the key benefits of taking part in the project with those on the autistic spectrum is to show how autism  can also offer great talents and opportunities. The project has strived to show this positive aspect of the spectrum, and how it has resulted in so many talented performers, artists, musicians and the like.

The project had an important core value - it was to be not for profit and not to charge for being involved. This to me was so important, and funding would always remain an issue for this and other similar ventures.

What I have tried to do is offer the kind of support I myself would have appreciated growing up.

Whilst many joining the project were on the autistic spectrum it's important to say that the project was open to any boy who wanted to take part - most usually those looking to advance in acting and performance.

It's been a great three years and I thank each and everyone of those taking part, the parents and the organisations - each played a valuable part.

So what of the future?

Well The Halfling project is now joining the newly formed act4ward - details of which will follow on the website here.

The Halfling Project will work with children who wish to have a go at acting or expressing themselves though levels of drama and creative work. It will be set to build individual confidence along the way.

With schools cutting back so much on drama many pupils no longer get the chances they once would have had to come out from their shells and perform.

Everything is kept simple and informal  and importantly friendly. Parents are encouraged to be fully involved . The entry age for act4ward is 16 - those below that age can enter with The Halfling project with assignments set to suit their age and ability.

Both act4ward and The Halfling project remain mainly for boys at this time. Quite simply the location does not easily lend itself to girls due to limited personal space and changing facilities.

By making these changes it is my hope to avoid potential conflicts between the interests of The Halfling Project until now and special needs and that of acting and performance with act4ward.

It has become evident at times that this can happen.

I would like to stress I remain committed to support for the invisible conditions, autism and all those areas from the project over the past 3 years.

However funding is always limited as is my time to the work, and it had become evident that something had to be scaled back.

I appreciate some of you will  think this is the wrong decision, I ask you to believe it is not one I have taken lightly - and I remain committed to anyone working with me currently on the project.

I am, as always happy to discuss any concerns - so feel free to get in touch.


With kindest regards,


Dave - William David