The Creative Society is an arts employment charity that helps young people into jobs in the creative and cultural industries.
As I write, the World Cup is in its final stages, with the England team who slunk back home to see the remaining flags of St George flutter forlornly — tattered remnants of dashed hopes and broken dreams. Everyone seems to agree on the need to invest in home grown talent if England is to have any chance of ever being in serious contention for the World Cup and investment is not purely financial; it’s about practical support and encouragement. The suits that run the FA, and indeed the England squad, would do well to sit in on one of the training courses we’re running with an inspirational outfit which, rather ironically, is called GOALS whose remit is to encourage personal and social responsibility, self motivation and enthusiasm. GOALS are currently working with the scores of young people who’ve just started their job placements with the Notting Hill Mas Band Association. This was is what our chairman, Richard Greer, blogged after watching a training session.
“There were about 20 young people there, all of whom had come through the Jobcentres. I guess most of them came from disadvantaged backgrounds; young people for whom the possibility of getting any employment was bleak, even before they could begin finding something that might give them a chance of doing what they wanted to do. The experience of listening to them talk about their aspirations, and the hurdles they faced, but which they were determined to overcome, just made it clear how important is the task of NDotM. It was pretty inspiring.”
Just over 180 jobs with various arts and cultural institutions across London have been filled and we expect the rest to be in place within the next few weeks. Sixteen people started work with Stratford Circus and NewVIc in East London a few weeks back and 10 have been taken on by the London Metropolitan Archive while others are working in theatre, dance, production and design jobs across the capital.
Well, maybe not quite. But we were delighted to have had 500 national jobs approved and funded by the Government which means the good work of NDotM is moving across the country.
These latest jobs will be with PANDA in Manchester and the North West, Brighton & Hove and the East of England. We hope some of them will boost our Digital Domesday project which will help to digitise the vast untapped archives of this country. We’re talking to, and working with, a range of people, including the writer Barney Hoskyns who runs Rock’s Backpages archive about projects that could be absolutely massive in terms of local history, creative opportunities and jobs.
We’ve got our own new coalition going with Ixion Holdings, an independent, not-for-profit organisation, owned by Anglia Ruskin University that provides training and other support services to organisations like A4e, Barnados, Shaw Trust and others that help people into or back into work. We’re jolly pleased to be working with them and think there are loads of exciting things we can collaborate on.
Talking of coalitions, we hosted a terrific Open Salon on election night (which seems like years ago) at London’s Southbank Centre. A late bar, giant TV screens and sofas full of interesting people, our event was free and open to anyone – an oasis of democracy in the midst of all those ticket and invitation only events on May 6th. Laurie Taylor, Jude Kelly, David Buckland, Catherine Meyer, Philip Blond, David Seymour and people from the audience took their turns on the sofa with Martin Bright and frankly, we think our event was so much more fun than being stuck on a boat with Joan Collins and Andrew Neil. Our thanks as ever to Jude Kelly, Martin Colthorpe, Phil Nichol and the technical crew at Southbank who made it not just possible, but also easy to do.
We’ve bade farewell to the Hut and moved across Waterloo Bridge to Somerset House which is quite possibly one of the nicest places to work in London. An amazing building absolutely steeped in history which is home to an eclectic set of creative entrepreneurs and social enterprise organisations. Our co-tenants range from Editorial Intelligence,
Music for Youth, LCACE, Sorrell Foundation and Clore Leadership Programme to the scarily beautiful (and extremely tall) people from the British Fashion Council. We’re already working on collaborative projects and, although we miss Southbank, we are immensely fortunate to still work alongside talented and creative people who are totally committed to supporting, encouraging and producing art and culture that one might argue is even more valuable to the UK as an extremely mediocre national football team. Sorry boys.
Enjoy a summer of music, art, performance, literature, festivals, architecture, museums and galleries — at least until the proper football season gets going again!
As always, thanks for your support. And in case you missed it, you can read Martin’s article in the Observer on New Deal of the Mind here.