Our journey so far… 2012-2013

Year One: Exploring. We had lots of ideas, some contacts and a few funding opportunists. We explored all these avenues and facilitated diverse projects from a long term arts leadership project in Barking & Dagenham funded by the local authority to a youth empowerment project in Tower Hamlets funded by an extended schools network. We were guided by values of quality and participation but there was no coherence to the projects we developed. It was however an amazing way to learn about our strengths, to explore partnerships and put our ideas into practice.

 

Year Two: Exploding. We received a large commission from Communicates & Local Government under the last administration for a project called Creative Community which was part of a wider invasive called Inspiring Communiques. Working alongside other organisations in a very specific area in Dagenham, the aim was to raise inspirations amongst eleven to fourteen year olds and their families. Working with participants aged three to ninety-­‐ eight, we reached over three hundred local community members. This enabled us to learn more about our community, develop our project management skills and form positive links with other services and organisations.

 

Year Three: Focusing. The large-­‐scale commission had finished and we began to focus on our core projects using everything we had learned. We were now very much rooted in Barking and Dagenham and begun new, on-­‐going projects including our junior youth theatre and what was to become our children’s theatre. We became resolute in the need for on-­‐going weekly provision that offers opportunists to develop both artistic and leadership skills. We wanted these projects to be firmly rooted in a local community, create high-­‐quality artistic outcomes and offer accreditation.

 

Year Four: Consolidation. This year has been a :me for us to build on these core projects and strengthen the decisions we have made in terms of our focus as an organisation. Our on ‐ going projects have become a coherent programme of activities with a youth theatre for three different age groups from five to eighteen and a strand for disabled young people, a dance leadership programme and an artist development programme. We have reduced the number of short term projects we deliver and ensure any we do deliver are in partnership with another organisation who can offer referral routes and on‐going participation to anyone we work with. We can also offer our own referral route into our on ‐ going programmes. This year, we have focused on making all of this sustainable and simply trying to make it better. The projects continue to evolve which is important for them to stay relevant yet we now have a model which is based on all of our previous explorations. Our next step is to make this model financially sustainable to continue to improve its impact. Our successful public fundraising drive and work with a professional fundraiser are making this seem more and more like a potential reality.

 

So that’s our journey so far. We explored the landscape. We made great strides across it picking up material as we went. We used what we had seen and what we had collected to start a camp. Now we are building that camp into a community; one that will be inclusive and creative; and one that will last.

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We know that being involved with the arts as a participant or as a viewer can have a profound effect on people's lives; whether it is running a film project for young people at risk of exclusion or giving adults with learning difficulties the chance to create stories and perform in front of an audience, we know that life is made more enjoyable and rewarding when we spend time doing something creative with a group of friends, old and new.If you believe the arts are as important as we do, please consider making a small donation. We appreciate your continued support!

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