October to January will be a significant, if not make or break, period in the development of our organisation. Firstly, we have the new round of Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation funding open. Having been a recipient of NPO funding for the last 2 rounds and currently the only NPO in B&NES, we are both proud of, and grateful for, our support from ACE.
We are certainly not resting on our laurels however, and will continue to be ambitious and to develop as an organisation for the benefit of the sector and the benefit of our participants and audience, not to mention our staff and volunteers.
We are also working very hard on our offer for the new Community Services commission, recently awarded to Virgin Care, and the possible opportunities that may arise from this. As with most organisations, I am sure, articulating a concise and powerful story of the work we do is demanding but vital. As part of this process, we will be creating some more artists commissions to help us in expressing our impact, value and methodology. We will announce these in due course.
We are also just starting the final phase of our Home Service project that has recently had a hiatus due to a change in project management from the consortium that we are a part of. We will again be working with Elders and care home staff in Bristol, Radstock and Bath, creating kits and resources that can be used in care home settings in the future. We are also collaborating with Bath College on the possibility of a very exciting training course for their students and professional care staff as part of their new Care College. Additionally, we will be delivering a couple of co|Create sessions for artists, focused on the learning and practice we have evolved from the overall delivery of the Home Service project.
Last month we facilitated, in partnership with 5x5x5 Creativity, a new What Next? Chapter for the West of England. The theme for this inaugural meet was ‘Engagement’ and there were fascinating and insightful presentations, discussions and statements from a wide-variety of participants including organisations and individuals alike. We were joined by Clare Thurman from the national What Next? movement to kick us off and to put the national picture into context for us. We ended up discussing three main questions that had been created by the group through an open space session, firstly, “How do we reach different communities and why?” Secondly, “How do we ensure real & actual inclusion?” and lastly “How is participation measured? And what is ‘meaningful participation’? As you can imagine, we had nowhere nearly enough time to do these topics justice but they served as valuable and stimulating areas for discussion and networking. The chapter is aiming to meet once every two months and the themes will evolve as we grow as a network. We will also be inviting inspiring and provocative speakers to join us to spark our debates.
If you would like to be part of the West of England What Next? Chapter, or have any questions regarding it, do not hesitate to contact me.
Director, Creativity Works