As I look back over 2013, I am struck by the many golden moments that have made this such a special 10th anniversary year. We have delivered a host of life-changing programmes; won a handful of prestigious awards; secured major new funding; and celebrated our important milestone with a series of events including our creative:space birthday party and a 10 mile Team Create walk.
Our Key Successes of 2013
- We have been highly effective with our fundraising and are expecting to increase our income by more than 10%, enabling us to deliver around 600 workshops that will help to transform the lives of more than 2,000 disadvantaged and vulnerable children and adults.
- 99% of our community partners rated our projects successful.
- We were awarded a transformational grant of £480,000 from The Queen’s Trust, which will enable us to increase by 280% our programmes with young offenders, young carers and young people with disabilities over the next three years.
- We were shortlisted for the Charity Times Charity of the Year: with an income of less than £1million award.
- I had the privilege of being recognised as Clarins Most Dynamisante Woman of the Year, which came with an amazing £30,000 prize. We are using this to take sensory music residencies to six special schools during 2013 and 2014, the first of which was Sandgate School in Cumbria.
- Our art:space project for young carers won Business in the Community’s prestigious South East Local Impact Award, Building Stronger Communities, which was presented to sponsor British Land.
- Our Inside Stories project at Rochester Prison won five Koestler Awards and a “Special Commendation” in the Royal Society of Public Health (RSPH) Arts and Health Awards 2013.
- We piloted a new “Artist Sharing” event, allowing our artists to develop skills and share best practice. This was so successful that we will now run it twice each year, providing invaluable professional development for the amazing artists who run our programmes.
- In his review of our evaluation procedure, Peter Grant, Senior Fellow at Cass Business School described this as “probably as good as you can get”
What drives everything we do is the children and adults whose lives we aim to transform and their feedback provides constant inspiration:
- “My son is dancing now. He’s over the moon!” parent
- “I felt happy and included because my ideas were listened to.” participant
- “I never thought I would ever be able to do it, but I proved to myself that I could.” participant
- “It was a good way to interact and build on friendship.” participant
- “I’ve really valued this activity as being creative helps me to engender a sense of self, other than that of being a carer.” participant
- “This was just brilliant! We have never experienced anything like it!” parent
Perhaps most touching for me was the 10 year old girl who I met when visiting our Celebrating Diversity project at Hallfield Primary School last month. She asked me whether I was going to a different school in the afternoon and I told her: “No, I have to go back to my office to do less exciting things, like finance.” I thought that she may not know what that meant, so I explained: “I need to see how much money we have received to run projects like this one.” She looked at me for a moment and then said: “Perhaps I could give you £5”. For this little girl, £5 would have been her pocket money for perhaps 10 weeks, if she gets pocket money at all. Seldom has the value of our work been emphasized to me more.
Thank you to everyone who has helped to make 2013 our most successful year to date. Have a very merry Christmas and happy New Year.
Nicky Goulder, Chief Executive