Tag: Corporate Partners

Richard Crowther: riding RideLondon for Create

The Ride London team left to right Robin Newton, David Clare, Zoe Inman and Titus Ajayi
Ride London 2017 Hyde Park picnic


“I’m glad the money I raised is supporting such wonderful projects. Create also made the fundraising process very easy.”

Richard Crowther

On Sunday 30 July 2017, 13 #TeamCreate riders completed a gruelling event. This was the second year we had the privilege of taking part in the capital’s ultimate cycling challenge: Prudential RideLondon–Surrey 100.

Our riders not only took on the 100 mile loop between London and Surrey but also worked with the same drive to meet their fundraising challenge. They have already collectively raised £15,377, with funds continuing to pour in, which will help us empower even more lives through the creative arts over the coming months.

One of our fundraising heroes is Richard Crowther, Asset Manager at British Land. Create’s longest-standing corporate partner, the company funded our first ever project – Shake an Egg – in 2003, when Create was just eight days old. We caught up with Richard the day after the race to see how his legs were doing and why he chose to take part.

The Ride London team left to right Robin Newton, David Clare, Zoe Inman and Titus Ajayi

“It is such a great experience to breathe in the fresh air and see that many cyclists on car-free roads. It’s nice not to have to worry about competing with vehicles.

“I think a couple of the hills were harder than I thought they’d be, especially Leith Hill which was certainly the most challenging stretch. The road compressed like a funnel. There were a lot of people shouting ‘keep going, keep going!’ and if you stopped and anyone was in front or behind you then it had a knock on effect. You have to get in a line and not dismount. I was lucky that I managed to keep in that line and reach the top. That and cycling down towards Buckingham Palace were definite highlights. It really made me feel like I’d done it.

“After I crossed the finish line I thought I’d be in pain but I felt surprisingly okay. I was certainly feeling tired but after some jelly babies and a little bit of fruit I started getting back to normal. Being more of a tennis player than a cyclist I’ve got to be thankful for having finished it and that it was a nice day. It was a great event.

“I got to know Create through British Land, who introduced me to the charity’s inspiring work when I was considering taking on the challenge. It is a very important cause and I am glad the money I fundraised is supporting such wonderful projects. Create also made the fundraising process very easy. I was given all the necessary materials and guidelines to get the message across to my family, friends and colleagues. My success definitely wasn’t just down to me, as my supporters were generous and so was British Land, which match funded my £750 target.”

Ride London 2017 Hyde Park picnic

We can’t thank #TeamCreate enough for taking on this challenge – and Prudential plc for providing us with the VIP places to make this possible. We are looking forward to seeing the impact their efforts will have on the lives of so many disadvantaged and vulnerable children and adults over the coming months.

To congratulate riders and their wonderful supporters we hosted a post-race picnic at Hyde Park. And the weather held out!

Interview with Jonathan Arana-Morton from The Breakfast Club

Breakfast Club founder Jonathan Arana Morton, far right
Breakfast Club founder Jonathan Arana Morton, far right


Since 2014 we have developed a fantastically rewarding partnership with The Breakfast Club (TBC), the independent café chain based in London. As well as being famous for its fantastic food, 80s themed décor and secret bars, TBC is deeply committed to supporting the local communities around its cafes.

TBC found us in conjunction with opening its London Bridge café, and our partnership has provided committed, creative volunteers, who have brought bags of enthusiasm and skills, and vital funding. Both have supported our projects and our strategic development.

I recently met with TBC co-founder, Jonathan Arana-Morton, at one of his cafes of course, who told me more.

Tell me about TBC’s ethos of supporting charities and initiatives like Create

Jonathan – “We’re very much advocates of the idea of ‘do well by doing good.’ Apart from it being the right thing to do, it’s hard to separate our success as a business from our commitment to this. We’re a hospitality business; hospitality is taking care of people. The best hospitality businesses are built around the best people – it makes absolute sense that the people attracted to us because of our work with charities like Create are the absolute best people to work in our business.”

How and why did TBC first decide to support Create?

“We’re a business full of artists. Create were the first time we really put into practice the idea of matching our team with appropriate charities based on skills and interests. We stumbled upon the perfect relationship.”

Why do you think access to creative experiences is important, particularly for vulnerable and disadvantaged people?

“Creative experiences are by their nature an escape. Whether its dancing or painting, you get to lose yourself. It’s also probably something that vulnerable or disadvantage people don’t get access to. It’s therefore also opportunity, opportunity to potentially discover something you’re very good at and something you can build on either as a career or a lifelong passion.”

Jonathan and his team have been amazing volunteers at Create projects, making the most of their communications, teamwork and leadership skills – and of course creativity – to help us deliver empowering and inspiring workshops. It’s unsurprising that the company recently won the CIPD Business Management Awards Best Employer Supported Volunteering Programme.

Tell me about the Create projects TBC has supported.

“We’ve done everything from arts installations with dementia patients through to music with severely disabled young adults. The amazing thing is the exposure our team get to all the participant groups Create works with.”

Do you have any favourite memories of things you’ve seen or been a part of at Create projects?

“It’s quite simple, put the needs of the charity first and then everything else follows.”

Jonathan Arana-Morton

“I met a lady who suffered from dementia at the first project we were involved in. I remember after trying everything to gain her trust she just suddenly giggled at something I said and that was it, we were best friends for the rest of the afternoon. We even started talking about meeting up in our cafe for breakfast. I walked out that afternoon proud as punch because apparently she’d been difficult to engage. I went back the next week and it was like we’d never met, I couldn’t find the spark to gain her trust. It showed me two things – how rewarding it could be, but how emotionally difficult it all can be and that it’s never, ever easy.”

What has feedback been like from TBC staff members who have volunteered at Create projects?

“For the same reasons it’s rewarding for the people that Create work with it’s rewarding for our staff. It’s a release from their day-to-day, it’s an escape and a chance to do something truly different that they can go away feeling very proud of. It’s widely thought that people volunteer to help others but I think when it’s done right volunteering is as beneficial for the volunteer as it is the people they choose to help.”

What have you learned about supporting community groups and charitable causes through your partnership with Create?

“We’ve learned how to put something together that works for both the charity and for us as a business. It’s quite simple, put the needs of the charity first and then everything else follows. Everything we’ve done with other charities since is based around this very simple model, find a charity that is relevant based on the skill set you have in your team, speak to the charity, LISTEN – then help accordingly.”

In November a team of 30 from TBC, including Jonathan, took on the incredible challenge of five marathons in five days to raise money for Create. In total the team raised £22k for Create, which will enable us to work with dozens of young carers during 2017. Jonathan explained the motivation for the challenge and what it was like to take part:

What was it like taking part in The Beast?

“The Beast was six months in the making for everyone involved. The five days in Florida Keys were the extremely difficult icing on the cake. Normally when you build something up it never lives up to what you imagined. This was everything I pictured and more. The team were heroes, 3:30am starts, 90 degree heat, some horrible, horrible moments (normally involving giant blisters!) but we made it and when we all finished most of us wanted to keep on going – or I think they did.

“The fundraising gave us all a reality check during our darkest time – there are people living through some incredibly difficult circumstances who will benefit from the money we raised – in contrast we were running through the Florida Keys. Knowing that soon stopped you feeling sorry for yourself.”

Nicky Goulder, Founding Chief Executive

This article is from 2017.

Corporate volunteer Andy from Reed Smith

Andy Reed Smith
Andy Reed Smith


Each year, we collaborate with international law-firm, Reed Smith to enable adult carers at Newham Carers Network to benefit from relaxing, life-enhancing creative arts workshops through our creative:release project.

Reed Smith is based in the City of London, a stone’s throw from the London Borough of Newham, and dedicated staff give up their time to work alongside our professional artists and the carers.

Andy Reed Smith

This year, Andy – a Record Clerk at Reed Smith – took part in visual arts workshops with the carers. Together with our visual artist Maru Rojas, they experimented with a range of challenging and stimulating artistic techniques. In one week, Andy and the carers attached pieces of charcoal to sticks of bamboo, testing their imaginations (and dexterity!) as they created an underwater scene with their makeshift artistic tools. In another week, they recycled old images and photographs, upcycling them by painting over the top and sewing thread across the images. Using snapshots of the past, they worked together to create new memories to treasure.

Here, Andy describes his experience of working as a volunteer at creative:release.

“Firstly I’d like to say how engaging and skilled I found Create’s project team, including Maru Rojas – the artist who led the workshop – and Ce’Ce at Newham Carers Network. They were all very encouraging to me and the carers throughout the project.

“I found volunteering at the workshops a really enriching experience, as it took me to an unfamiliar part of London and gave me the opportunity to socialise with people I wouldn’t otherwise get to meet.

“My job with Reed Smith is as a records clerk, which is fairly repetitive and screen based, so the workshops were an excellent “recharge”, helping to boost my enthusiasm level back at the office.

“I believe the arts are very important and a social good that should be accessible to all. We need all the obvious stuff: rule of law, reliable public transport, utilities, roads, schools, hospitals etc. but art, when you think about it, is one of the things that make life worth living.

“I hope I have contributed in some small way to the amazing success of the programme.”

Andy Reed Smith

Meet Afe Komolafe from British Land

Afe Komolafe
westminster young carers


Afe Komolafe is Community Manager at Paddington Central, which hosts our art:space programme in Westminster.

Afe Komolafe

art:space is a multi-arts programme for young carers, funded by British Land, which provides the opportunity for young carers to develop creative thinking through art forms including film, animation and dance. The programme enables them meet other young carers and develop social skills, gain self-confidence and self-esteem, and have fun.

Afe told us about why the staff at Paddington Central love getting involved in the art:space programme:

“Paddington Central prides itself on being a valued part of our local community. As such, we endeavour to play an active part by supporting local initiatives. Volunteering is just one way in which we achieve this. Paddington Central delivers on British Land’s Local Charter, which sets out how British Land builds trust and supports successful, integrated local communities and how it develops skills and opportunities to help local people and businesses grow.

“It was a pleasure hosting the art:space programme with young carers. Our staff found the volunteering stimulating.”

Afe Komolafe

“Create does very important work supporting disadvantaged and vulnerable young people helping transform lives using creative arts. It was a pleasure hosting the art:space programme with young carers from Hallfield Primary School at Paddington Central and our staff found the volunteering stimulating. A highlight was watching the children explore the public space and being fascinated by the buildings. Also, the sessions were delivered from the executive suite and the children got to experience being in a work environment with some commenting they would like to work in Paddington Central when they grow up.

“Every year we run a free film festival to engage the local community and our occupiers in enlivening the space. Last year it was a privilege to show the premier of two films made by the art:space participants as part of the festival. Keep an eye on our website for information about what we have in store at this year’s film festival.”

This article is from 2016.

Meet Neil Carter from Whiteley Shopping Centre

neil carter
art space winchester


Neil Carter is Centre Manager at Whiteley Shopping Centre, which has hosted our art:space Winchester programme since 2014. art:space is a multi-arts programme, funded by British Land, which provides the opportunity for young carers to develop creative thinking through art forms including film, animation and dance.

The programme enables them meet other young carers and develop social skills, gain self-confidence and self-esteem, and have fun. Neil told us why everyone at Whiteley Shopping Centre loves getting involved in art:space.

neil carter

“Community is at the heart of everything we do at Whiteley Shopping Centre as we are the heart of the community. We do not see community involvement as an additional task to be performed; it is simply a part of how we manage the Centre each and every day.

“The projects we have undertaken with Create are central to British Land’s Community Charter as they help develop skills that will help young people in their education and careers. We have volunteers at every workshop and all take a fully active part, from dance choreography to animation technology.

“Our relationship with Winchester & District Young Carers (WDYC) began two years ago. At first, many of our team didn’t understand the term ‘young carer’. As we got to know the young carers, one of our team realised that he had been a young carer himself without knowing the title. He had no support and now fully understands the vital role WDYC performs in the community. He then went on to identify a young carer living very close to our Centre and arranged for WDYC to get involved to offer support.

“We have seen one young carer in particular develop over the last two years. When we first met him he was one of the more challenging attendees with some big life choices ahead of him. We arranged for him to join us for a week of work experience and have had regular contact through the workshops. At the last workshop I had a long chat with him and discovered he has a part time job, is doing well in school and planning for further education – what a turnaround!

“Each of our volunteers has learnt something new by volunteering, and not just new skills in the creative arts! Many, myself included, have learnt how to engage with a younger generation and to understand what interests them and how they utilise social media. This has helped us in our day jobs and changed the way we implement marketing strategies at Whiteley. The workshops become a real talking point and boosted the morale and confidence of all who attend.

“Create is professional, organised but most of all, as the name suggests, creative. It is very much a good organisation to volunteer with and we have been very impressed by its professional artists. They interact with the young carers on their level and make the workshops really enjoyable for all who take part.”

Deutsche Bank Partnership

We partner with companies to deliver bespoke projects that meet their Corporate Responsibility priorities and makes an impact on the lives of marginalised children and adults. 

Watch this video below about our award-winning partnership with Deutsche Bank in 2015. Find out more about how we might be able to partner with you here.

British Land on why they support our programme for young carers, art:space

art space


Since 2007, we have been helping to change the lives of young carers in Camden, Hackney and Westminster through our art:space programme thanks to funding from British Land. Here, the company’s Charity & Volunteer Executive, Jo Hammond talks about the partnership:

“British Land is one of Europe’s largest real estate investment trusts. I work with our corporate-level charity and community partners and with teams at our properties around the UK to encourage community investment activities. We recognise that our business activities have wide-ranging impact, which can affect the lives of a significant number of people. We aim to be the best neighbour we can be. The young carers projects we fund are in the London boroughs where our key office properties are based – Camden, Hackney and Westminster.

We started working with Create back in 2003. Then in 2007, the charity forged a partnership with Westminster Young Carers Service and ran a creative writing and photography project entitled Who Am I?. It was a great success, so we’ve been working with the charity on similar projects ever since. art:space allows the young carers to get a break from their caring responsibilities and spend time with others in their situation, forming relationships, developing communication skills and building confidence and self-esteem, whilst, importantly, having fun.

Create works with professional artists who are carefully vetted, so I can be confident that those delivering the projects are the best people for the job. The quality of their project delivery is fantastic, and the Create team are incredibly committed to their work – they can be truly inspiring. When I visit the projects it’s always great to meet the young people and see first-hand some of the benefits. I’ve visited a variety of projects over the years and the young people are always incredibly engaged as they are so well put together – it’s wonderful to see them having some time to be children and be made to feel special. For our next set of workshops, we are focusing on using the artworks at our Head Office and the public art at our other estates in London. I can’t wait to learn what’s in store!”

This piece was written in 2012.

Debbie from RBS Group volunteers at one of our flagship projects

changing spaces

Debbie from RBS Group volunteers at one of our flagship projects

changing spaces

Debbie works at RBS Group and volunteered for one of Create’s flagship CR projects, changing:spaces, at Lucas Vale Primary School.

changing:spaces combined participants’ creativity and imagination with the skills and energy of Create’s professional artist, writer and corporate volunteers to transform a bleak and bare four storey staircase within the school. First, the children at Lucas Vale Primary spent a week working alongside a writer and artist from Create to come up with designs for the four different levels: under the sea, a land of delights, the sky and outer space. They envisioned disco dancing animals under the sea; dragons warming the first floor with their fiery breath; silver unicorn sunning themselves on the second floor; and, on the top floor, sparkly planets and spaceships shooting off between the stars! The corporate volunteers, together with Create’s artist, then painted the staircase using the children’s drawings and ideas.

“When I first heard about the RBS group project to paint the Lucas Vale Elementary School, I wanted to participate, because I was sure it would make a difference for the children/teachers who attend that school, and I was happily surprised when I was able to do so despite the fact that I live in Paris and the school is situated in London. I immediately imagined myself painting the walls of the school from floor to ceiling (you know, up down, up down, that kind of movement with a big brush/roller – they said talent was not a prerequisite), and I admit that I was quite nervous when I found out that we were expected to recreate the children’s drawings on the walls. I don’t know how I missed that small detail.

Anyhow, your artists had done all of the preliminary work for us by the time we got there, and they advised us on colour choices etc., so it turned out to be quite a user-friendly experience after all. Also, the other volunteers were so much fun that I just went with the flow and ended up really enjoying myself.

Despite my evident shortcomings in the artistic painting realm, I would renew this experience if the opportunity were to arise again, because more children deserve to have a good laugh like the one these kids will probably have every time they see my jellyfishes and/or Alan’s mermaid in the stairwell that leads to their playground. I had great fun!!!

Thank you to all those who made the experience possible!”