Case Study: Out There Arts
OutThere Arts (formerly SeaChange Arts) is a Circus and Street Arts organisation based in Nelson Ward, Great Yarmouth that offers classes, performances and events to the local community and surrounding areas.
Active Norfolk supported OutThere Arts to apply for over £8,000 from the Sport England Tackling Inequalities Fund. This national fund supports local groups and community organisations to increase access to physical activity opportunities for those most at risk of poor health and physical inactivity due to Covid-19.
OutThere applied for funding to sustain delivery of its circus skills programme through a period of financial shortfall during the summer and early autumn 2020 due to loss of income from the pandemic, and other funding gaps.
The funding would also enable OutThere Arts to offer free and subsidised places on their range of fitness and skills sessions, making their offer accessible to families experiencing financial hardship.
The Nelson Ward is a diverse and multicultural community. Providing permission forms in the range of languages spoken within the ward was identified as a key first hurdle to overcome to be able to engage with the children and young people that were playing naturally in the street that were interested in the park sessions taking place.
Once the language barriers were identified, and local translators engaged to help create the permission slips and flyers about the programme in the numerous languages spoken in the area, they were key in raising awareness of the circus arts programme and the subsidies available for lower-income families to be able to attend.
OutThere Arts also found older people who were shielding or reluctant to leave their homes were hard to engage. Over the course of the programme, they identified a number of local charities and organisations with direct links to the older residents in the community, and plan to improve outreach to these organisations in future to support engagement and awareness of the programme.
“We are so grateful for the assistance from Active Norfolk in securing this funding which has enabled us to increase accessibility of the arts and activities to families who are limited by circumstance.
We’ve seen our participants improve their fitness levels, adopt healthy lifestyles, form and maintain positive relationships and develop skills and improve confidence and aspirations.”
Emily Phillips, Communications and Development Officer
OutThere Arts used the funding to provide a varied programme of children's and community circus activity sessions which benefitted a wide range of participants across the local community.
The funding helped them maintain a varied programme of circus and fitness activities including:
✦ Drillaz Circus School Activity
✦ Tots and Play sessions for early years
✦ Family Saturdays & Sundays – free drop in circus sessions / intergenerational activities for the whole family and dedicated sessions for target groups facing particular disadvantage e.g. GY Refugee Orientation Services (GYROS) families, young carers, and looked after children and young people
✦ Older people's sessions – more gentle, seated exercises to develop upper body strength and motor skills
✦ Circus based circuit fitness training and acro-yoga classes in the park for adults; Specialist skill tasters for all; Teen Extreme tasters; Juggle Club
✦ Accessible Circus: SEN sessions– introducing weekly SEN sessions to support families and CYP with SEN's; Accessible circus sessions for adults with learning and/or physical disabilities; and
✦ Circus Online
Over 2,400 individuals took part in courses during the summer and early autumn, which saw residents of all ages learning key circus skills such as juggling, hula hooping, handstands, unicycling, and yoga.
The programme helped bring physical fitness, a sense of togetherness, and improved health and wellbeing to the local community in a fun and entertaining way. Circus arts and activities have proven to be a great way of engaging with those who may be facing behavioural challenges or exclusion from social groups. Through classes students have been encouraged to be active, social, and committed.
Class tutors have reported widespread improvement in physical attributes such as strength, flexibility, coordination, attention, visual and spatial processing. They also reported improvements in softer skills such as communication, self-esteem, creative thinking, problem solving, and ability to work as a team.
Following the success of the 2020 outreach programme, OutThere has seen an increase in members and is hoping to apply for an extension to the Tackling Inequalities Fund to broaden awareness and fitness opportunities to more families in Nelson Ward and surrounding areas.