Making a difference

Making a difference

17 Nov 2023

Discover three great projects that have been supported by Arts Society funding 

Pitching for success

As any professional artist knows, creating art is only half the story. To make it in the art world, you have to know how to network and pitch your work. Both of these skills are art forms in themselves and have led Severn Arts to set up a new programme called Pitch Up. 

The idea is simple: a four-day event for 18 artists of all disciplines, featuring talks, mentoring and a pitch session. In groups of three, the artists finished the weekend developing a piece together and pitching their idea to a professional panel. Three of these groups were then given £1,000 to bring their idea to life with the support of a mentor.

Last June, final year students studying art and design at the Heart of Worcestershire College were the first to take part in Pitch Up. In addition to offering a chance to develop business skills, the workshops gave the students new confidence in their abilities and encouraged future collaboration across different artistic disciplines.

Colourful creativity 

Are you feeling blue, green with envy or even seeing red?

This would certainly be the case at the colour monster workshops developed and run by Embracing Arts. 

These used Arts Society funding to create a framework that enabled children with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD) to be creative. The sessions used song, touch and exploration to encourage the young participants to express themselves, using colours as a way to communicate their feelings. Working with groups of children aged up to 16, facilitators implemented different techniques to open conversations about emotions. Some children took this opportunity to reveal how they felt about the bereavement of family members, while others engaged with singing. 

Interactive workshops like these colour monster sessions help to break down barriers to communication and collaboration among young people with PMLD; teachers involved have already requested similar activities for the future. A staff member at one school in Croydon said: When going through the pictures, the students laughed and smiled. They continuously pointed to the more” sign. Parents informed us that some of the students had proudly shown them their pictures, and some have asked their parents for more too. This was an incredible experience.

It was a summer of music 

Arts Society funding has enabled students at a special school for four- to 16-year-olds to attend an annual music festival in Cheltenham. 

Pupils at Paternoster School in Cirencester were among 120 young disabled musicians from across Gloucestershire who took part in INCFest. As part of the festival the Paternoster contingent performed eight songs, all signed using a combination of British Sign Language, Makaton and Sign Supported English. 

The inclusive music festival is important to our children in many ways,’ says Andrew Armond, who teaches at the school. Over the years, we have built an extensive repertoire of songs that all the children have come to know through repetition and practice. Many of the songs convey moral, motivational or uplifting themes, which we can incorporate into our assemblies. Each year, a new group of children has the incredible opportunity to perform in a major musical event. The benefits for our children are evident in improved communication, signing abilities, cooperation skills and boosted confidence.

Find out more!

The Patricia Fay Memorial Fund is open to applicants twice a year, in the autumn and spring. Organisations (including Societies that belong to The Arts Society) can apply for projects that meet the charitable objectives of The Arts Society and make a difference to peoples lives. For more information on the grant, and for more stories about projects achieved with its help, see

About the Author

Ciaran Sneddon

writes for The Arts Society


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