New funding to improve access to the arts for families

£150,000 from Esmée Fairbairn Foundation will enable the Family Arts Campaign to create positive arts and culture experiences for families.

Family Arts Campaign, an organisation dedicated to supporting the arts and culture sector to become more family-friendly, expands its remit today, with funding from Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.

The grant of £150,000 will have a national impact across six regions. The Family Arts Campaign will use the funds to launch an Ambassador Network programme. As a result, six Ambassador posts have been created across the country, in Bristol (with Children’s Scrapstore), Cumbria (with Kirkgate Arts), North-East England (with Seven Stories/Family Explorers), Sunderland (with Sunderland Empire Theatre), Derby (with Derby Quad) and Manchester (with Z-Arts).

Each Ambassador will support both arts and non-arts organisations to work with more families and more diverse families. Their work will encourage greater participation in arts and culture activities. A particular area of focus is those families who rarely visit their local arts and culture venues.

Anna Dever, Head of the Family Arts Campaign, said “When we talked to our nationwide member organisations, it became clear that they needed support to reach wider family audiences. We see a significant opportunity to create an increased impact in areas of low cultural engagement across England – our new Ambassador Network will do just that. We know that participating in arts and culture is not only essential for development and learning – it’s also fantastic for health and wellbeing. Families who learn, create and have fun together create stronger bonds. We hope this new initiative will mean families, from 1-year olds to 80-year olds can enjoy culture together.”

The project, which will run over three years, hopes to see more families not only participating in cultural experiences but reporting the positive effects of doing so. With metrics for success including:

• 25% annual increase in family audience attendance at events across Network member organisations

• 25% annual increase in new family engagement

• 15% increased engagement from those in areas of high social deprivation

• 75% of families report positively on experience of arts and cultural activities and intention to re-attend.

Ambassadors will work with the central team at the Family Arts Campaign to build upon community relationships in their Networks and encourage family engagement. In addition, the regional Ambassadors will work together to share best practice for dissemination through a national learning programme.

A spokesperson for Esmée Fairbairn Foundation said, “As a funder we are keen to support collaborations and partnerships which establish new ways of working, create sustainable careers for artists and enable more diverse audiences to experience arts and culture. We are proud to support the Family Arts Campaign to expand their model of working with local cultural organisations to reach and engage more families in enjoyable experiences of arts and culture.

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