Arts Connect announce latest grants

£130,000 invested in arts & cultural opportunities for young people.

Arts Connect has invested £130,000 in four regional arts organisations to support the development of new arts and cultural opportunities for children and young people focused on developing participant’s skills, confidence and well-being. As well as increasing participation and enjoyment of the arts for young people, the investment will enable the organisations to secure co-investment and new sources of income.

Partnership Investment Funding for 2014/2015 has been awarded to the following:
Ikon Gallery will receive £30,000 to develop their arts and health strand of work to address health and well-being commissioning in the West Midlands. Ikon Gallery will develop arts programmes for Worcestershire, Birmingham, Sandwell and Dudley through their Slow Boat project involving young people. The boat will act as a venue enabling young people to take part in arts activities that build mental well-being and resilience.

Media Active will receive £35,000 to develop opportunities for young people in rural Shropshire to enhance creative, technical and employability skills, whilst working on a variety of digital media commissions for non-arts partners. In addition, as commissioners, young people will develop knowledge and skills, influencing cultural programming to improve attendance by younger audiences at rural venues.

Warwick Arts Centre will receive £50,000 to create an Active Arts Network for South Leamington schools to develop skills and knowledge in events management and to embed creativity into the school curriculum. They will be developing an annual schools arts festival with a CPD element for teachers to manage events, fundraise and share knowledge with other non-arts focused schools.

2Faced Dance Company will receive £15,000 to develop a dance programme for young people at risk to improve their behaviours for learning and their social skills. The company will also run training for teachers and dancers in Hereford and Worcester.

Arts Connect’s Partnership Investment Programme supports organisations to work with non-art sector partners to encourage sustainable investment into the arts for young people. It is designed to support organisations to secure new resources that will enable them to engage with children and young people over the long term.

Including the four new investments, Arts Connect has to date invested £413,507 in 23 regional arts and cultural organisations since 2012. Eight supported through the first round in 2012/2013 saw a return in investment of over 400% with a further 11 in round two 2013/2014 reporting a 110% return on investment.

Rob Elkington, Director of Arts Connect WM said: “As a result of these new investments Ikon Gallery, MediaActive, Warwick Arts Centre and 2Faced Dance Company will be able to develop significant new opportunities for children and young people to engage in excellent arts and creative activities across the region. They set out to include young people who may not normally encounter their work and offer them experiences that will benefit their well-being, achievement in school and employment prospects. Our investment will enable the organisations to attract new partners and over £120,000 of new resources from beyond the arts world so they can continue to engage with many thousands more young people in the future.”

Sue Gainsborough, Director of MediaActive said: “This funding is essential to underpinning a new partnership commitment to professional skills and talent development activity and training for young people. Not only will young people become more aware of the Creative Industries as a career option, but they will have chance to broaden their cultural horizons and develop transferable knowledge and skills that will be of great value in all walks of life. We envisage at least 450 young people will benefit from this investment, although of course we expect far more will benefit from the results of their labours!”

Sarah Rogers, Education Manager, 2Faced Dance Company said: “The investment will enable 2Faced Dance to train our team of professional dancers in skills needed to effectively work with hard to reach individuals, focusing on using dance to improve behaviour and motivation in children and young people. This will take our education work in a new direction and greatly increase accessibility in our schools programme both regionally and nationally.

“We aim to engage up to 200 young people in the programme, providing a unique experience to work with professional male dancers developing practical skills for stress management, improving self-confidence and building respect for their peers and teachers.”