DaDaFest Receives Major Funding from Big Lottery Fund for New Artist Development Project

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DaDaFest is delighted to announce that the organisation have received a grant of more than £275,000 from Big Lottery Fund to be used for a new project called “DaDaFest Rookies”.

photo of a group of young performers on stage. The face of a woman is projected onto a screen behind the performers

Young DaDaFest Performers 2016

The project aims to increase employability within the creative sector for young disabled people through training, mentoring and placements within arts organisations.

The funding from Big Lottery will allow us to support young people to develop their skills as artists and producers and enable them to pursue careers in the creative sector. The project will be led by young people via our leadership groups and local schools will be able to input their thoughts via quarterly forum meetings. Over a three year period, we will offer mentoring to young people, which will involve taking part in sessions led by highly experienced professionals. We will also offer flexible placements for young producers within our own office as well as with partner organisations.

DaDaFest Rookies builds on our successful Young DaDaFest programme, which has seen over 2,500 young people participate in a wide variety of different events and projects. This includes being part of our biennial international disability arts festival as well as leading on the development of our annual young people’s events. We have supported several young people who have already made steps into professional careers in the arts. DaDaFest Rookies will allow us to support an increased number of young people to kickstart their arts careers.

The idea for the project came about due to the lack of provision for disabled young people that prepares them for further education and employment. Many young artists and producers who have worked with DaDaFest in the past have expressed a wish to hone their skills and go on to careers within the arts world but felt that opportunities in this area were lacking.

Ruth Gould, Artistic Director at DaDaFest said: “We are so proud that the Young People have led, shaped and developed this programme. DaDaFest are excited about being able to support new and emerging talent and confidently believe that in three years’ time the result will see many young people in jobs, on the stage, in galleries and in film & TV and enrich the arts sector to be more reflective of an inclusive and diverse society.”

Sam Wade, Arts Manager for Young People at DaDaFest said: “We are delighted to have been awarded this grant from Big Lottery Fund. It will allow us to develop the skills of young people through training and mentoring to increase the amount of visible young disabled people within arts and leadership roles and enable them to reach their potential.”

Michelle Stubbs, DaDaFest Vice-Chair & Young Leader, said: “It’s fantastic to be taking that step beyond the great work already being done in the young people’s programme and further bridge the gap between it and the main DaDaFest programme; in terms of offering development and showcasing opportunities for talented young disabled artists.”

Jordan Connerty, DaDaFest Young Leader said: “This will provide young people with a valuable opportunity to gain experience and work within the arts alongside other young disabled artists, actors, producers and leaders. I’m very excited to see how this develops!”

The Big Lottery Fund supports the aspirations of people who want to make life better for their communities across the UK. They are responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised by the National Lottery for good causes and invest over £650 million a year in projects big and small in health, education, environment and charitable purposes. Since the National Lottery began in 1994, £33 billion has been raised and more than 450,000 grants awarded.