Stockton Borough Council, Culture Bridge North East, Blue Cabin CIC, and ARC combine to involve Children in Care in artistic and cultural activities.

ARC, in association with Stockton Borough Council (Children’s Services) and Blue Cabin CIC, have been awarded £40,000 by Culture Bridge North East in match funding to develop a sustainable partnership model to ensure that children and young people in care have the opportunity to be involved in artistic and cultural activities – now and in the future.

Culture Bridge North East’s award of £40,000 matches Stockton Borough Council’s investment of £40,000 into the project.

The partnership between the organisations was formed through Stockton Borough Council’s determination to improve the lives of children and young people in their care while utilising ARC’s knowledge and experience in cultural development for disadvantaged people, and Blue Cabin CIC’s valuable expertise in connecting organisations and communities.

Councillor Ann McCoy, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said:

“We’re very proud to be corporate parents to all of the children and young people in our care and like any parent, we want our children to have the best possible access to great opportunities and experiences.

“That’s why we’re delighted to be providing financial support to this project. Our investment in it is giving children and young people in our care the chance to get involved in a range of artistic and cultural activities, from drama and street dance to painting and model making.

“We hope these experiences will not only inspire them and enrich their lives, but open up new avenues of interest too.”

Since the award was made in January, ARC, Blue Cabin CIC, and Stockton Borough Council have engaged children in their care in numerous activities including drama, painting, 3D model making, dance, and street dance via the newly introduced and already successful More Stuff like This Please programme.

Stockton Borough Council currently provides care for over 400 children and young people. The partnership with ARC and Blue Cabin CIC will seek to engage and encourage children and young people to develop and sustain an interest in activities that they are not currently involved in, and remove the barriers to their involvement in the future.

Elvie Thompson, Culture Bridge North East Programme Manager, explains:

“Partnership Investment is a key part of the work delivered by Culture Bridge North East to support children and young people to access high quality arts and cultural education. Rather than providing a grant, its ambition is to deliver investments that make a difference in children and young people’s lives, over the long term.”

More than 20 organisations submitted plans to make a sustainable impact for children and young people to better connect with arts and culture, improving equality and enhancing personal outcomes. The applications were considered as part of a competitive process overseen by Culture Bridge North East’s Advisory Board.

Elvie continues:

“The quality of the proposals made the selection process very difficult. However, the organisations that were successful had fully considered how their proposal would have an ongoing impact for the benefit of the community.

ARC’s was one of the strongest expressions of interest we received because of the strength of the partnerships they have developed with Stockton Borough Council and Blue Cabin; the clear strategic aims of the programme which had been developed collaboratively with looked after children and young people and the adults who care for and support them; and the clear focus on the quality of the children’s experiences.”