Tees announce Total Arts project as their first Better Future Fund grant recipient

The Tees Better Future Fund was setup in May 2022 to offer grants up to £5,000 for projects that support learning and education and promoting good health and wellbeing in Cambridgeshire, Essex and Hertfordshire.

We have now completed the first round of applications and we are very pleased to announce that one of the first two community projects to receive a Tees Better Future Fund Grant is the Total Arts project at The Cambridge Junction.

Cambridge Junction is a registered Charity whose objectives include: promoting, maintaining, improving and advancing the education of the public (in particular younger people in Cambridge) in the appreciation of and participation in the arts; and relieving poverty, sickness and distress among young people.  

Cambridge Junction’s Total Arts programme has been running for 12 years and focuses on providing creative learning opportunities to young disabled people. It provides opportunities for 13- 25-year-olds with a range of physical and learning disabilities to develop their skills at their performing arts groups. Participants can explore their passions for the arts, learn new skills and make films. As their confidence has grown some are now ready to take on leadership roles and share their skills with the next generation of disabled young people. Total Arts ‘graduates’ are excellent role models, exemplifying how young people with complex needs can grow their skills and play a valuable role in sharing their expertise.

A £5,000 grant from the Better Future Fund will fund an expansion of the Total Arts programme so that ‘graduate' trainers work alongside an art producer and a filmmaker to work with young people from Castle SEN School (on Courtney Way) and the new autism specialist Cavendish School (in Impington).  It will also enable both the Castle SEN school and the Cavendish specialist school pupils to attend a professional arts venue and performance, experiencing the magic of live theatre.

The project will start with attendance at The Nutcracker, Cambridge Junction's inclusive Christmas show, created by Moxie Brawl’s company of disabled and non-disabled artists. This will be followed by a tailored workshop and filmmaking sessions in the Spring.  The workshops will include some skills building around basic story-telling skills, devising and scripting scenes and shooting and creating a film.  The films created will be celebrated next summer at the Total Arts Film Festival. 

The support from the Better Future Fund will allow for intergenerational skills development for both the Total Arts ‘graduates’ as they become trainers, as well as the pupils from these schools.   The trainers receive paid work and experience and the pupils are helped to imagine how they might develop their interests in a realistic and meaningful way.

Janine Collier, Co-Head of Tees’ Social Responsibility, said, “the Cambridge Junction is a charity embedded within our community just like Tees. I love the vision that the Junction has for the extension of the Total Arts programme – it is inter-generational and sustainable, creating opportunities for young people with complex needs to build skills, increase in conference and improve mental health and well-being as they explore their passion for creative arts.  We look forward to partnering with the Junction over the forthcoming months, to hearing the lived experience of the participants and to seeing lives changed”.  

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