Olympics legacy funding helps Voluntary Arts reach into Swale and Medway

A new partnership with Ideas Test means communities in and around Swale and Medway are set to benefit from increased capacity at Voluntary Arts

Ideas Test, the Creative People and Places project for Swale and Medway, is delighted to announce a new partnership with Voluntary Arts, thanks to funding from the Big Lottery Fund/Spirit of 2012 Trust.

A Development Officer for Voluntary Arts in the South East will be based at Creek Creative in Faversham, the headquarters of Ideas Test. Joining in September, Katie Rees will work closely with Ideas Test staff on a range of projects aimed at increasing participation in creative cultural activities across both arts and non arts communities, and will be one of seven new appointments for Voluntary Arts across the UK.

Established with an endowment from the Big Lottery Fund, the Spirit of 2012 Trust aims to build on the legacy of the London Olympic and Paralympic Games and support and sustain community related activities up to and beyond the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

The new post will develop existing Voluntary Arts projects, including the annual celebration and showcase of arts participation, Voluntary Arts Week.

Voluntary Arts annual awards scheme for excellence and innovation in the amateur arts, the Epic Awards, will also receive extra investment, so as many voluntary arts groups as possible can enter and benefit from their involvement in it.

The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympics Games showcased voluntary commitment and achievement to an audience of billions. The Spirit of 2012 Trust funding will help Voluntary Arts build on existing good work, increase arts volunteering and participation across the UK, and open up the pleasures and benefits of creative cultural activity to as many people as possible. They will also begin a programme of training and skills development, and attempt to bridge the gap between professionally-led community arts activities and self-organised voluntary arts groups.

Robin Simpson, Chief Executive of Voluntary Arts said:

“It is very exciting to have this opportunity to build on the legacy of London 2012, where the involvement of volunteer performers was such a key element of the success of the cultural programme. Developing our staff capacity to engage directly with communities across the whole of the UK will give Voluntary Arts the chance to effect a range of positive changes in the management of, recognition for and participation in creative cultural activity.”

Ideas Test Creative Enabler, Steph Fuller, added: “We are delighted to be working with Voluntary Arts who share our mission to support people to take part in the arts in their daily lives.  It will be great to host Katie in our office and we look forward to developing new and exciting projects together”.