Headway Arts, the Blyth based charity focusing on the inclusion of disabled people within the arts, has received over £8,000 in funding from the Coalfields Community Investment programme.

The funding, totalling £8,482, will cover the cost of a Learning Support Worker, providing 35 hours of support a week over a 6-month period, giving those with learning difficulties and communication needs the chance to get involved in arts-based activities.

Headway Arts specialise in highly inclusive projects, offering world class opportunities for people to contribute to the cultural life of their community. By working across the arts, they are able to motivate and build the confidence and creativity of attendees, offering a means of expression to those who would otherwise not have the opportunity.

The Learning Support Worker will assist colleagues, encouraging and supporting individuals to participate in a variety of arts-based activities within the local community. By planning, developing and implementing a variety of sessions they are able to contribute towards and track the progress of attendees, whilst also making this particularly vulnerable group of people feel safe and secure

Frances Castle, Chief Executive of Headway Arts, comments: “The Coalfields funding received will make all the difference to those who participate in the activities provided by Headway Arts. Creativity can have a huge influence on building confidence and communication skills while also giving people an opportunity to express themselves.”

“Employing a Learning Support Worker means that we are able to extend our service and help more people to gain key skills and build up their confidence and self-esteem. We have seen first-hand what can be achieved when attendees take part in these activities and the Coalfields funding will allow us to continue to make a positive difference to those that can become socially isolated.”

Andy Lock, Head of Operations (England) for the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, comments: “

“We know that creative sessions and art-based classes can have a really positive impact on those with learning difficulties or disability and so providing support for Headway Arts means that the communities can continue to offer the support needed to people who are typically some of the hardest to reach.

“Health is one of our key priorities for action and so knowing that the services that we are supporting are making a difference also means that we are helping to address the ongoing challenges in coalfield communities.”

As the organisation has become a member of Coalfield Community Investment Programme it will continue to be supported by the Trust and will have access to bespoke practical support including access to resources and services such as help with third-party funding applications and bid-writing, to tips on effective promotion and marketing.