Local outreach: big impact
"Did you know there’s a school for big children? And you just do Maths there all day!”"
It seems hard to believe, but poverty isn’t just a problem in faraway lands, it’s right here on our doorstep.
One in three children in Coventry are estimated to be living in poverty; many have never have travelled further than one mile from their home, and some of the areas we work in are defined by the Government as in the 10% most deprived in England
This is the context for much of our youth outreach work, where we work to inspire and raise aspirations. Whether people end up studying at universities or not after school, we want them to have options. At Warwick Arts Centre the team work with local groups on special art projects, and they've just finished another summer of Take Part in Art, kindly funded by donations just like yours.
Education Officer Clare Mitchell says:
Imagine never really going anywhere...
Except home, school and the local co-op, with the occasional school field trip thrown in.
Forget things like holidays, iPhones or pocket money, you don't necessarily have a fixed home or family; clean fitting clothes; or regular meals. You might not even speak English or really understand much of what goes on at school. What do you think your life prospects are?
We take so, so much for granted in life, and it's so easy to forget that people don't get the same chances.
Our work joins other outreach projects at Warwick to help inspire children: a trip to Warwick Arts Centre probably doesn’t sound like much to people who've studied here, but for local children it is genuinely a highlight and a wonderful opportunity.
It’s been proven by the Cultural Learning Alliance that those from low-income families who take part in arts activities at school are three times more likely to get a degree, and that students who engage in the arts at school are twice as likely to volunteer and are 20% more likely to vote as young adults.
This year between January and July 2015, we worked with 484 children aged between five and seven years old, helping them to Take Part in Art. Our experienced staff and skilled artists gave school groups free visits and tours around Warwick campus, and then led creative workshops back in their schools to help them come up with their own pieces of art to display locally.
We want them to have creative outlets and feel more proud of themselves and what they can achieve. We also want to leave a good legacy behind so we give teachers free CPD sessions where they’ll start off saying things like ‘I’m not good at art’, and by end by confidently guiding a classroom into creative work.
Take Part in Art has amazing results
Part of it is about raising aspirations: one teacher said that after Take Part in Art, a child pulled on her sleeve and said, "Did you know there's a school for big children? And you just do Maths there all day!" They hadn't heard of a university before.
Part of it is offering a more well-rounded education. Teachers and families have told us that they've seen an increase in self-confidence in presenting new work. Art has been a good leveller for children who may not have English as their first language, and teachers have also used it as a way to open up other areas in the curriculum.
From the bottom of my heart, therefore, I want to say 'thank you' to everyone who makes this possible.
From paying for craft materials, to the minibuses which bring kids to campus, and the artists’ time for running workshops - every penny makes a difference.
If you can keep supporting our work with another donation, we would be immensely grateful."
The work was really focused and helped the children open up. It helped them when they were back in the classroom to open up more, express themselves and be creative - especially the boys I felt.”