What inspired you to start Project.INC?
Students with anxiety, depression, autism and other needs often struggle socially as well as academically resulting in pupils who don’t perform or stop turning up altogether. An ex art-and-design teacher and school leader, I knew art classrooms were a place of refuge for these young people who were often petrified of the school yard.
As art has been removed from the curriculum, these safe spaces have disappeared from schools and certain students with them. I wanted to find a way to fill this needs gap.
Why art and design?
Art and design is what I know and love. I’m also aware that lots of young people who consider themselves to be alternative or who have additional needs find art accessible and enjoyable.
Why heritage buildings?
I wanted to bring art and design qualifications to vulnerable young people by creating learning environments that felt completely different to mainstream classrooms. Places that are calm and quiet in the kinds of buildings some learners may never have visited before.
Working with heritage buildings gives us the opportunity to link up with other artists, create work placement opportunities for our young people and helps them connect with the real world again.
What makes Project.INC so successful?
I’d have to say our values. We’ve built Project.INC on a belief in being respectful, responsible, safe and kind. This resonates with the young people who come and work with us and helps them to feel comfortable, let their guard down and do their best work.
What are your plans for the future?
Project.INC has been really successful in our two existing bases so now we’re expanding to a new location in Leigh at Spinners Mill. We’ve also got plans to open in Manchester city centre, Bury and Oldham in 2019 to help more young people and schools across Greater Manchester.
Working as a social enterprise with the support of GMCVO and Nesta, we are confident we can reach as many young people as possible with Art !
What’s your most prized possession?
It’s not really a possession as such but I’d have to say my Italian greyhound, Enzo. He’s like a real greyhound just smaller and cuter!