3 Creative Charities You Should Pay Attention To

In 19th Century England, the nature of philanthropy was very different to how we understand it today.

Famed writer Charles Dickens was known for depicting philanthropists in many of his most celebrated novels.

Living in a time when poverty in England was at it’s worst, Dickens witnessed the rise of philanthrocapitalism, a trend which took polite Victorian society by storm and led to the creation of such diverse characters as the generous Mr. Brownlow fromĀ Oliver Twist and the rather selfish Mrs. Pardiggle and Mrs. Jellyby fromĀ Bleak House.

Since the pride fuelled days of the Victorian age, the way that we view charitable works has changed. Charity has become less about elevating our own standards in society and more focused on inclusivity and open communication – two tenets that we take very seriously here at Open-Art.

These three revolutionary charities are putting creativity at their core to amazing results:

Hospital Rooms

Co-founded by London based artist, Tim A Shaw and arts curator, Niamh White, Hospital Rooms is a mental health charity that believes in the considerable strength of the arts to instil people with a sense of dignity and wellbeing. Their aim is remove the barriers between culture and art for people who are using mental health services.

Using their contacts with ‘museum quality’ artists in London, the charity collaborates with users of mental services, psychiatrists, health professionals and researchers to create environments that inspire the people within them, encourage discussion and improve self-esteem. Their work so far includes a complete redesign and renovation of a Recovery College at Springfield University College – a project that has helped students deal with issues such as dementia, eating disorders and schizophrenia.

Creativity Works

Based in Bath, Creativity Works’ role in the local community is really all in it’s name. They believe, similarly to us, that the process of taking part in creative activities is key in helping people to develop, explore and grow as people. In addition to offering training courses for established, socially engaged artists, they also offer opportunities for residents residing within the local area to get involved with diverse corners of the art world, including textiles, photography and writing.

Creativity Works are unparalleled in their approach to inclusivity. They seek to work with people experiencing a vast range of mental health problems, families with complex needs, elderly people who are in care, as well those that are isolated from their communities. By bringing these people together in a safe space with an activity that they can all take part in, they hope to bridge the gaps between these disparate groups.

Plymouth Music Zone

There are few Music based UK charities that are as well respected as Plymouth Music Zone. Thanks to years of support from the local council, as well as many kind donations, their practitioners now deliver up to 60 music activities in the Plymouth area a week, reaching as many as 1000 people. Targeting marginalised individuals and those living in isolated social conditions, the charity aims to reduce loneliness by connecting people through regular music sessions.

One of their most successful projects is the ‘Keep Singin, Keepsake Project’ a multi-generational program aimed at supporting older people who are at risk of loneliness. Between 2012 and 2015, a pilot study was completed on the project, revealing an improvement in mental well being as a result of regular collaborative music sessions and socialising.

Open-Art hopes to create similar opportunities, allowing those with artistic ambitions to pursue their goals, regardless of their social situations or mental health status.