Voluntary Arts

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Voluntary Arts works to promote and increase active participation in creative cultural activities across the UK and Republic of Ireland.

Over half the UK adult population is involved in the voluntary arts and crafts (cultural activity that people undertake for self-improvement, social networking and leisure, but not primarily for payment). Those activities are wide-ranging and include music, dance, crafts, drama, literature, visual arts, festivals and much more.

Voluntary Arts work with policy makers, funders and politicians to improve the environment for everyone participating in the arts, and we provide information and training to the many thousands of groups and individuals who participate in the voluntary arts sector. This includes over 300 national and regional umbrella bodies, and through them, their member groups of local voluntary arts practitioners.

Voluntary Arts recognises that the arts are a key part of our culture and are vital to our health, social and economic development.

Sarah Breen is the Midlands Development Officer for Voluntary Arts England. Sarah is based in Nottingham and can be contacted at sarah@vaengland.org.uk or 07818 031632.

Voluntary Arts run the annual Voluntary Arts Week festival each May. During this special week, creative groups of all kinds are encouraged to showcase what they do and invite newcomers to join them. For those running events, there are tons of helpful resources and advice in the form of toolkits and publicity materials available from Voluntary Arts.

Events across the UK and Republic of Ireland are listed on the Voluntary Arts Week website, so people can search for something happening near them. Voluntary Arts also works with a range of partners and media to help spread the word about Voluntary Arts Week and groups taking part in it. See the Voluntary Arts Week website for information, listings and resources: www.voluntaryartsweek.org

The Epic Awards, run by Voluntary Arts with support from the Spirit of 2012 Trust, are an annual event which aims to shine a spotlight on the incredible work being done by voluntary-led groups across the UK and Republic of Ireland. After an open submission process, our panels select winners for each nation as well as special awards for exceptional work with young people and people with disabilities. There are also awards for the People’s Choice (through an online vote) and the Peer Award for Excellence (voted by the other shortlisted groups). See the Epic Awards website for information on previous winners and applying for the next awards: www.epicawards.co.uk

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