In 2019 we continued to deliver our year-round Clubs programme of free creative arts workshops for Disabled people and their companions at Vicarage Lane Community Centre in Stratford. For the first time this programme was funded, with support from the National Lottery Community Fund’s Reaching Communities scheme, and by the autumn we were able to appoint a Clubs Programme Leader, an Engagement Support Worker and a Youth Development Worker.
Arts Council England continued to support our artistic programme as a National Portfolio Organisation. As usual, we delivered an enhanced programme over the summer months, Summer Together! 2019, which included workshops with our Carnival Arts partners Paracarnival leading up to participation in Hackney Carnival, where the group were joint winners of ‘Best Theme Interpretation’. For the first time we were invited to take part in Newham Show, where we ran our Hands Project and produced performances by Disabled artists including our associate drama company Act Up! Newham. Summer Together! 2019 also included two workshops with cellist Jo-anne Cox, who had received a project grant from Arts Council England which included working with the tactile sound devices we developed for our international VIBE project in 2018.
We were extremely proud to win the first Rotary Stratford East London Community Heroes Award for Outstanding Contribution to Community Cohesion in June 2019.
We also continued to share our expertise with the national arts sector. Our Metrics for Equality, Access and Inclusion were adopted by Culture Counts, the Arts Council’s lead on evaluating the quality of arts programmes, and widely promoted.
The Together! 2012 Consultancy continued to advise on access and inclusion in the arts. In April we published a Training Manual for the voluntary and community sector on organising inclusive events and activities, with funding from the National Lottery Awards for All programme. As a result of this we published a new resource on our website: What is Disability? We also trained Arts Council England diversity leads on LGBTQI+ and intersectional issues during the autumn.
At the end of 2019, we were pleased to move our base to St Bart’s Centre, 292b Barking Road, East Ham E6 3BA.