the project

“At first it scared me. I’ve got more confidence now through persevering and with the help of all the ladies.”


Delivered between 2010 and 2016 creative:u~turn was our multi-artform project that brought together members of U-Turn Women’s Centre and Reed Smith employees under the guidance of our professional artists for collaborative creative activities, including animation, drama, jewellery making, music, photography visual art and writing.

Until it closed, U-Turn Project was a charity that worked with vulnerable and hard to reach women of all ages who have been trapped in cycles of prostitution, drug addiction, physical abuse and homelessness from an early age. The charity supported and encouraged the women by helping them to make positive choices and take control of their lives, through a confidential night-time outreach service and a women’s day centre.

creative:u~turn  was developed to connect, empower and upskill these vulnerable women. Each workshop session was flexible, allowing the participants to drop in and out as needed, and began with a shared lunch. This connected participants with the Reed Smith volunteers, Create team and artist and other women who visited the centre, enabling trusting relationships to develop and flourish. The workshops enabled the participants to work collaboratively to build their creative and social skills as they made, for example, music, took photographs, designed jewellery and wrote plays.

“I felt anxious/nervous beforehand that I wouldn’t be able to add much/relate to the women and vice versa but felt very welcome and enjoyed talking to the women.”

reed smith volunteer

Each project culminated in a sharing, many at Reed Smith’s offices. This enabled the participants to showcase their achievements before taking their artwork home.

creative:u~turn was recognised with the Lord Mayor’s Dragon Award for Social inclusion in 2012, which was presented to Reed Smith.

the need

Growing numbers of women’s refuges have closed or been forced to reduce capacity, due to government funding cuts. This was the fate for U-Turn Project too. More than one in five refuge services running in November 2020 were not funded by their local authority.

“daniel [create artist] helped give me confidence because i was scared of men and he made me realise that there are nice men.”


Before U-Turn Project closed, creative:u~turn provided vulnerable women with opportunities to develop their own support networks in their community and build self-confidence to make life changes. Many of the women found it hard to trust strangers or form relationships; creative:u~turn addressed this and catered to those at all skill levels, providing opportunities for the women to express their feelings and develop interpersonal relationships and trust with one another, U-Turn staff, Reed Smith volunteers and Create.



Creative:u~turn was a partnership with Reed Smith. Employees supported the project, working creatively with the participants and building supportive relationships.