Valley And Vale Community Arts

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Valley and Vale Community ArtsAnnual Report 2014-2015

MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTOR“ get it right, and we’ll see work which empowers and connects, work which isunique, authentic and life-affirming, work which at its best is genuinely transformational ”(Nick Capaldi, Chief Exec, Arts Council of Wales, March 2015,Introduction to ‘Person-Centred Creativity’ publication, Valley and Vale Community Arts)One of the key aims and proven achievements of our work is in the intentionality behind our creative workshops to inspire and motivate our participants. This is of high importance, because manyof the people we work with come to our projects or training sessions with low self-esteem, low confidence levels, and so being motivated through the creative process can be extremely inspiring andlife-changing.This new feeling of a possible and positive self image and identity can help participants move towardsmore pro-active life choices and an improved quality of life that might include reduced anxiety, re-connecting with education, further education, employment, developing increased social networks, takingon new challenges, continuing with creativity, developing more creative and less inhibited thinking.“Valley and Vale continues to be a leader in the delivery and development of Community Arts practice. The organisation offers a range and variety of creative artsprojects and programmes, often working with the most challenged and challenging individuals and groups within society.”(Arts Council of Wales, 2014)The people we work with continue to overwhelm, humble, motivate, move and inspire me every year.The work is magic because we get to creatively share the lives and stories, dreams, challenges,hopes and fears, of so many amazing people; people overcoming personal barriers, people strugglingwith health issues, people battling against low self-esteem, feeling vulnerable, at risk, with depression, loneliness, trauma, anxiety. We are so lucky that we get to share in a life-changing, creative, fun,and creative experience that has proven to have profoundly transformational effects.So thank you to all the people we have been lucky to share this creative journey with over the pastyear. Thank you also to all our funders, friends and partners that believe in our work and support us,enable us, work with us, challenge us further; and of course thank you to my most amazing and dedicated staff team and Board, volunteers and trainees, that facilitate the work and keep pushing thepossibilities, and the quality of the process and products, higher and higher.Alex Bowen, Director, Valley and Vale Community Arts 2015

MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIRI am so proud of our Charity. This year theValley and Vale Community Arts team hasfacilitated another vibrant programme of creative,transformational and high quality opportunitiesfor people that are disadvantaged, at the marginsof society, at risk, vulnerable, or hard to reach;we have reached them, engaged them, andworked hard to sustain this work. Thank you toour talented creative facilitators, developmentworkers, Director, admin team and Board ofDirectors. Thank you also to all our funderswho believe in the work and enable us to keepon doing it with so many amazing and inspiringpeople every year.Highlights for me this year have included:In the ‘Creativity for Wellbeing’ programme –‘Up for It’, a Youth Drama piece commissionedby Healthy Schools Bridgend; the Active Ageproject working creatively with older people in theBridgend area; Barnardo’s Cymru Seraf Servicepartnership projects, using creative approachesto support young people in dealing with trauma;#noblurredlines - a theatre performance projectaddressing issues of sexual consent andcompliance; ‘Where are the Boys?’ – a Childrenin Need project that creatively explored issues ofsexual abuse with boys; and our Person-CentredCreativity Programme which was deliveredthroughout the year.In the ‘Cultural Connections’ programme – anew ‘Girl Talk’ initiative, building skills, culturalconnections and positive role models for girlsthrough links with Kenya, Ethiopia and Wales;a ‘Make it Happen’ International Women’s Dayevent event in Cardiff; ‘Czech Us Out’ youthfilm project in Cardiff; and a tour from DESTINODance Company from Ethiopia, who taught manydance workshops across Cardiff and Bridgend.In our ‘Creative Communities’ programme – anew outdoor learning ‘training the trainers’ coursewith our ‘The Raven in the Woods’ programme;our Art Bus project taking Community Artsprojects ‘on the road’; Young Promoters dramaprojects; Betws Community Choir supporting thecelebrations and charities of different groups ofpeople during the year; and another wide rangeof Community Arts projects across South Wales,supported by The Arts Council of Wales andBridgend County Borough Council, Families First,Communities First, Barnado’s Cymru, The BridgeAlternative Curriculum project, Film Nation, andThe Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.We have a reputation for being pro-active anddynamic in our commitment to both the creationand development of the Arts, and especiallyfor bringing creativity into areas of life and topeople that others may not reach or engage. Webelieve in, and strive towards, enabling ” artsthat reach out and touch us; arts that ignite ourimagination and creativity; arts that challenge usto search for a better understanding of our beingand the world around us.” (“Strive to excel ” AQuality Framework for Developing and Sustainingthe arts in Wales, Arts Council of Wales)Our creative programmes and workshops arefundamentally about inspiration. The effect onthe participants is life-transforming. We set outto challenge assumptions and the participantsare able to overcome personal barriers,organisational barriers, and cyclical and oftennegative behavioural patterns. In every trainingprogramme and workshop, individuals, groupsand institutions are challenged, inspired andenabled to integrate these creative life-changingexperiences into their lives. In the workshopsindividuals are enabled to collaborate andmutually support in ways which seem oftenimpossible before the workshop begins.One of our key aims and proven achievements isin the ability of our creative workshops to inspireand motivate our participants; this is of highimportance, because many of the people we workwith come to our projects or training sessionswith low self-esteem, low confidence levels, andso being motivated through the creative processis extremely life-changing and inspiring. Thisnew feeling of a possible and positive self imageand identity can help participants move towardsmore pro-active life choices that might includere-connecting with education, further education,developing increased social networks, taking onnew challenges, continuing with creativity, morecreative and less inhibited thinking, and alsoincreasing employability.We have a track record of tried and provensuccesses since our establishment in 1981, andwe will continue to build on these in the yearsahead. We aim to be flexible enough to developand learn, to take new but assessed risks, tobe spontaneous, to learn from the work, to bereflective in our practice, to make new partnersto add value to the work, to continue to seek newfunding sources for the work, and at all times,seek to be relevant in the work that we do. Wewill continue to invest in our staff CPD, as wellas ensuring that employ the highest quality teammembers to take the work forward.

WHO WE ARE & WHAT WE DOOUR MISSION: CREATIVITY FOR CHANGEOUR BACKGROUND:Valley and Vale was founded during the miners’strikes in the early 1980’s. At that time our organisation was based in The Vale of Glamorgan andwe moved into the Garw Valley to offer Community Arts as a way of helping people in the Valleydocument their lives at a time of hardship andgreat change.OUR ORGANISATION:Valley and Vale Community Arts is a registeredCharity and a Company Limited by Guarantee.We are a Community Arts for Development organisation. We actively seek to bring peopletogether in groups and within communities toinvolve them in creative activities, releasing theirpotential and helping them to positively changetheir lives.nature, there are some fundamental features thatare consistent across all our work: We facilitate rather than dictate the process. We offer a Person-Centred approach. We engage with people and ensure that allparticipants are involved in decision- making. We endeavour to pass on our skills and expertise to those people with whom we work. We strive for excellence in all that we do. We try to ensure that the ownership of the finalproduct is with the people who created it. We reflect on what we’ve done in order to refine our approach and improve the service wecan offer.OUR VALUES:At Valley and Vale we believe that creativity is anessential human right and that it is fundamental toour physical, spiritual and emotional wellbeing.It helps to understand that because of this we aredifferent from other Arts organisations.We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to express themselves creatively.At Valley and Vale Community Arts we care justas passionately about engaging people in creativity as we care about the quality of the art that wehelp them to produce. In short we value both thecreative process and the end result.We believe that through creativity we can createopportunities for individual and community development and that we can stimulate social change.OUR ETHOS:Whilst our projects might be highly diverse inWe approach our Community Arts work with a respect for others, a commitment to people, empathy, integrity and the ability to provide participantswith a safe place for sharing creativity.These are the core values that underpin our work.

Creativity for Wellbeing

CREATIVITY FOR WELLBEING - INTRODUCTION“ Valley and Vale Community Arts recognise that creativity irrigates thenursery fields of our psyche and our imagination, preparing the ground withinwhich wellbeing and sustainability canbe nurtured and take root ”sense of belonging, security, purpose, continuity,achievement and significance. Having the opportunity to be creative, to reflect and to challengeprevious patterns, gives participants the chanceto dream up a ‘possible self’ and the opportunity to develop a map of how to get there, helping them to create positive goals, which when(Nick Capaldi, Chief Executive, achieved can reinforce their sense of control ofArts Council of Wales, March 2015) the future:of for the future – as well as helping usto develop the wide range life skills thattwentyfirst century living seems increasingly to demand of us.”(Nick Capaldi, ACW, 2015)When participants are ready, the sharings of thecreative work they have produced acts as a further catalyst for change because it widens theimpact of the message they want to share, andValley and Vale Community Arts has been work‘Build something. Share something.inspires future change. It can also give the paring in Creativity for Health for over 30 years.Craft something. Make more art. Yourticipants increased motivation to continue in theirhealthandhappinesswillimproveandown journey, taking new challenges in their lives,This programme is the main and over-archingtaking risks with support, and receiving positivetheme of all the work that we do. We believe that we’ll all be better off for it ’(James Clear, Creative Healthy habits) affirmations in return from the people we share itall our creative projects are, in different ways, exwith (family, friends, funders, stake-holders, comtremely beneficial to the wellbeing of the peoplemunities) – and this in turn stimulates increasedwe work with. This feeling of increased wellbeing Projects are based on a Person-Centred Creadialogue personal and social change.may emerge for participants in the creative ‘flow’, tivity approach. Sessions are grounded in participants’ needs and interests and use a creativewhen they are actively involved in the creativeOne of our key aims and proven achievementsprocess itself, or it may be discovered through the arts and activity-based approach to explore theprocess of exploring specific and often difficult life themes identified by the group. Many of the peo- is in the ability of our creative workshops to inple we work with find it difficult to verbally express spire and motivate our participants. This is of highissues through creativity.importance, because many of the people we workthemselves, and the creative sessions offer arange of different mediums and support people in with come to our projects or training sessionsWe believe that creativity is an essential humandealing with a range of issues that may be affect- with low self-esteem and low confidence levels,right and that it is fundamental to our physical,so being motivated through the creative processspiritual and emotional wellbeing. We believe that ing their lives:can be extremely inspiring and life-changing. Thiseveryone should have the opportunity to expressnew feeling of a possible and positive self image“We all have the potential within usthemselves creatively, and that through creativiand identity can help participants move towardsty we can create opportunities for individual andto be creative in our own individualmore pro-active life choices that might includecommunity development, stimulating personalway. From our earliest years we learnre-connecting with education, further education,and social change.through play. And to play is to engageemployment, developing increased social netin the first steps of creativity and exper- works, taking on new challenges, continuing withWe approach our Community Arts work with aimentation. It’s a journey that can trans- creativity, and more creative and less inhibitedrespect for others, a commitment to people, withthinking.form the way we learn and explore theempathy, integrity and the ability to provide parworld around us. It can change the wayticipants with a safe place for sharing creativityand creative expression. We offer participants awe see ourselves – even what we dream

Person-Centred Creativity WorkshopsThis programme continued to go from strengthto strength, with a wide range of training coursesdelivered throughout the year under the SocialCare Workforce Development Programme, andworking with managers and care staff teamsin Day Services, Residential and Domiciliarysettings. We also worked with adults with mentalhealth issues and a wide range of groups.Feedback comments made on course evaluationsincluded:‘An outstanding course, learned a lot aboutmyself and how to move forward with confidence.’‘Thoroughly enjoyed the course ,refreshing andlooking forward to adapting to include in workingpractice.’‘The best training I have attended in a very longtime–truly inspirational.’‘Fabulous, meaningful, non – structured , fun ,fun,fun .’‘Enjoyed the 3 days ,did things I never wouldhave thought of doing .’‘It was the best training I have ever been on .’‘I am really enthusiastic about taking and using alot of this in the workplace.’‘Very good for team building’We can tailor our Person-Centred Creativitytraining courses to meet the needs of a wiserange of user groups, from Social Care Workerstaff teams, Community Artists, Health (inc.Mental Health) Workers, Voluntary and PublicSector Workers, and mixed groups. This feedbackgives us proven evidence that this training, whichwe have developed over many years, givesparticipants a positive learning experience as wellas personal and professional development tools.The areas that participants tell us they have founduseful include: understanding the relationshipbetween creativity and wellbeing; innovativeworking; experiential group work; creating safeenvironments, and designing, implementing andevaluating creative programmes.

#noblurredlines Participatory Theatre Project“This work is so important, we areusing creativity as a way of helpingyoung people to deal with difficultissues in safe and supportiveenvironments ”that we believe need addressing anddiscussing with young people. Many ofour partner projects have expressed theneed for this type of project that creativelytackles often difficult issues with youngpeople, to help promote dialogue, awarenessand understanding, in a safe and creativeAlex Bowen, Director, environment:Valley and Vale Community ArtsAs part of our Drama for Emotional Healthprogramme, we were excited to announcea new and groundbreaking participatorytheatre project funded by the EsméeFairbairn Foundation and supported by TheArts Council of Wales and Bridgend CountyBorough Council – #noblurredlines.Aimed at 16-24 year olds #noblurredlines isa powerful theatre performance addressingissues of sexual consent and compliance.Our research and ongoing work with localyoung people continually unearths a cultureof confusion, entitlement and compliancearound sexual relationships. Given that thisis a risky area to address, as professionalswe tailor-made this project to create a safedialogue between our young people andprofessionals who can help. Key discussionpoints for the audience debates after theperformance included: Safety; Alcoholand recreational drug use; Drink spiking;Reporting a sexual assault; The Law; Legaldefinitions; The role of alcohol; ‘Fair Play’ andrespect; Giving and receiving sexual consent;Exploitation – sexual activity when there is apower/emotional imbalance.This project addresses many key issues“ educate, prevent, and raise muchneeded dialogue around the issuesemerging ”Ali Franks, Applied Theatre Practitioner,Valley and Vale Community ArtsThe tour started with the Bridgend ‘Thinkingabout Sex’ event at the Hi-Tide, Porthcawlon March 19th and 20th 2015, and then#noblurredlines went on to tour Bridgend 6thForms before Easter.This project was developed and devisedby Ali Franks (Valley and Vale CommunityArts) and Dr Tamasine Preece (Head ofPSE, Bryntirion Comprehensive Schooland Freelance Social Media and SexualHealth Consultant). #noblurredlines hasbeen endorsed by Keith Towler (Children’sCommissioner For Wales) and BridgendPolice Community Safety Partnership, andhas been funded by The Arts Council ofWales, Communities First, and The EsméeFairbairn Foundation.

Active Age Project“Using their choice of music, some of my dance facilitation, some old time dances and their dances we will see where this lovely journey takes them.The ladies are having so much fun and I cannot holdthem back! ”(Elaine Bennett, Dance Development Worker)As part of our programme of working creatively with older people, we were pleased to be able to continue this work in Bridgendagain. This project was initially developed in partnership withAnna Evans, Planning and Partnership Support Manager at Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board. We were supported by Bridgend County Borough Council, The Arts Councilof Wales, and also donations from the residents themselves whowere so keen to keep the project going.This creative activity programme aims to promote emotionaland physical wellbeing. This year we worked with Valleys2Coast(V2C), our local not-for-profit Housing Association, offering theirresidents at Llys Cynffig in Pyle and Llys Ton in Kenfig Hill theopportunity to enjoy spending some time being creative throughthe medium of arts and crafts. We also worked with other residential homes and Centres in the area, including GlanogwrHouse Retirement Housing, where dance and movement wasextremely popular.We plan to build on this work into the future, with more opportunities for people with dementia and other illnesses. Workshopsare run by experienced facilitators and aim to help participantsexpress themselves creatively, increase their confidence, learnnew skills, work as part of a team, make decisions and have fun.The creative process we offer participants is a healing, positive,therapeutic experience. It is not Art Therapy, but it aims to helppeople reflect on their lives and often explore the possibilitiesof making ste

Annual Report 2014-2015 “ get it right, and we’ll see work which empowers and connects, work which is unique, authentic and life-affirming, work which at its best is genuinely transfor-mational ” (Nick Capaldi, Chief Exec, Arts Council of Wales, March 2015, Introduction to ‘Person-Centred Creativity’ publication, Valley and Vale Community Arts) One of the key aims and proven .

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