Caroline Barlow is the founder and manager of our partner charity Arts for All. Here we ask her a few questions about this wonderful charity and hear a little about the challenges she faces on a daily basis and the dreams she has for Arts for All.
1 - Why did you set up Arts for All?
I live on the local estate and, having worked as a youth worker locally for many years I wanted to do something positive for the local community. I knew, from my own life, that if you add an element of creativity into someone's life it can be utterly transforming.
2 - Did you have a background in the charity sector?
My mum has run a charity for the past 45 years and most of my family are working and involved in the charity sector.
3 - Can you describe Arts for All in a few sentences?
Arts For All is a community creative centre. We aim to see confidence grow through creative achievement, as well as love, support and care.
4 - What has been the biggest challenge of your journey with Arts for All
Our biggest challenge without a doubt has been, and continues to be financial. We have to raise approx £100,000 per annum and it has become harder and harder to raise the money needed.
5 - What has been Arts for All's biggest success?
I think it is that we have remained in this community for 17 years and our support has been constant. Children stay with us throughout their whole school life and, even though a high percentage come from families living with unemployment, 95% of children who have been with us have gone on to rewarding and sustainable employment.
6 - Why is Arts for All so important?
Arts For All is vital in the lives of those who attend as well as their families. This is because of the unique care, support and encouragement we give everyone and the consistent support that does not waver. People feel safe and happy at Arts For All - what is more important than that.
7 - What are your dreams for Arts for All?
That we can get reliable and unrestricted funding without the stress and anxiety. That we would have enough sustainable money to be able to start a much needed club for pre-school children with learning disabilities and a second day for adults with learning disabilities.
8 - Why did you decide to partner with The London Smiths?
I felt that Alex and Georgie truly understood us and the work that we are doing and a partnership seemed to be really fitting.
9 - How can anyone interested get involved in Arts for All?
Obviously we are keen to hear from anyone who would be able to support us financially - either personally or through a CSR program at their work. We also welcome people who would like to volunteer at any of our magical sessions.
10 - Anything else we should know about Arts for All?
That we have a passion for our community and the families and vulnerable adults we serve.