Nicky and Jen with the Charity Award


I spent a wonderful evening yesterday at the Charity Awards ceremony, an annual awards programme held to recognise organisations doing exceptional work in all areas of charitable activity. I’m thrilled to announce that Create won the Arts, Culture and Heritage Award.

The award was for our creative:connection programme, which works nationwide to bring together children and young people with and without disabilities through collaborative, boundary-breaking creative arts workshops. Selecting Create from a shortlist of three, the judges were impressed by the way that creative:connection “cut across boundaries rather than operating in silos, and offered something for everyone involved”. I’m delighted that the primary aim of the programme – to use the creative arts to facilitate understanding and acceptance of people with disabilities – was recognised so definitively by the panel.

The judges also commented that Create “was also able to evidence impact. [creative:connection] has reached 954 participants, with 97% of those saying they had enjoyed the project, 91% saying [it] had developed their creativity, and 89% saying it had developed their teamwork.” Our rigorous assessment of all Create projects is something that we are particularly proud of, as it enables us to learn, develop and ensure excellence, as well as demonstrating the value of our work to our funders, other stakeholders and potential funders. The SEN/mainstream schools and disability organisations who took part in creative:connection in 2016/17 will perhaps be less surprised than we were that we won this award as 100% of them rated the programme “successful overall”.

creative connection-Beacon-Hill-and-Dilkes 2017
creative:connection participants take photographs together

I am so proud of creative:connection, which is Create’s widest-reaching programme (we’re run it everywhere from Cumbria to Kent!), and one of our most prolific. It has seen some amazing results over the years, not just in quantifiable figures but in areas that are more difficult to measure. Kayla (13) at a school for pupils with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties, told us: “I think projects like these can help stop bullying in school. It upsets me when people single disabled people out. But we got on really well with the [mainstream] students. I’ve made some of my best friends on this project.”

This is the third time Create has won a prestigious award in the last seven months. In November 2017 we won the Children & Young People Now Arts and Culture Award; and we have just heard that we are the winners of a further award … currently embargoed, so watch this space!

It is stories like Kayla’s that make the hard work of the Create team, our professional artists and community partners, and the commitment of our funders and the volunteers who support the programme, truly pay off. Receiving this award for creative:connection is invaluable in helping us both to raise awareness of the issues faced by our participants and of the work we do as the UK’s leading charity empowering lives through the creative arts.

Nicky Goulder, Founding Chief Executive

This article is from 2017.