Annual Report 2011-12

The Arty Party Board presents its directors’ report and financial statements for the year ended 31st March 2012

Charity Name: Arty Party Limited

Charity Number: 1142517

Company Number: 7162495

Main Office Address: Park Lane Centre. Park Lane, Woodside, Telford, Shropshire TF7 5QZ.

Registered Company Address: Sandwell Accountancy Services, 30 Upper High Street, Town Centre, Cradley Heath B64 5HY


Trustees (to AGM 21st November 2012)

Ms J Dean-Richards – Chair of Trustees and Director

Mr M Layward

Mr S Singh Sohal – Treasurer

Mr S Singh Sohal – Secretary


Mr Layward and Mr Singh Sohal resigning as Trustees at AGM having served as Board Members and subsequently as Trustees since 2010


Duly elected as Trustees at AGM 

Mr M Jones

Mr J O’Neil



Arty Party is an independent arts company based in Telford, which supports people with learning and or physical disabilities, living in Telford and Shropshire, to make art. Members collaborate with professional artists to create work using film, theatre, visual art, creative writing, music and other art forms. Arty Party shares powerful work with the public through performance and exhibitions.

Arty Party aims to:

  • Increase the confidence, skills and independence of adults with learning disabilities by providing arts training and work experience.
  • Reduce social isolation of adults and young people with learning disabilities, in Telford and Shropshire, by bringing this community together to actively participate in the planning and delivery of art and social activities.
  • Increase understanding and integration of positive contributions made by learning disabled people regionally, nationally and internationally, by presenting their work through exhibitions, digital media, performance and social events.


The Charity’s Object is:

To improve the quality of life of people with disabilities within Shropshire and its surrounding areas, by promoting education and the arts, and through this improving individual health, social wellbeing and economic stability. Also to promote social integration and community cohesion, building trust, confidence and communication between people with disabilities and the wider community through the medium of the arts.

The key strengths of Arty Party are that it has over 80 members and a dedicated and knowledgeable team including trustees, advisors and volunteers. The organisation has an excellent relationship with Telford and Wrekin Council and is building productive partnerships with other key arts and community organisations.


Business Context

Arty Party was incorporated as a company limited by guarantee on 18th February 2010 (company number 7162495). Its status as a registered charity (charity number 1142517) was confirmed on 21st June 2011.


The Board of Trustees

Arty Party has a Board of Trustees with responsibility for directing the affairs of the charity. Arty Party Trustees are involved in agreeing policy, making decisions and monitoring work, as well as doing some of that work. As the organisation grows and finds further funding, the board will delegate responsibility for most tasks to staff.


Advisers to the Board

Arty Party is advised by people who can offer the benefit of their expertise, without becoming Trustees.



Arty Party is a membership organisation for people over the age of 18, who support the organisation’s charitable objectives. Anyone wishing to become a member is asked to complete an application form.


Members Committee

The Members Committee meets monthly and representatives from the group attend quarterly Board of Trustee meetings to represent the views of whole membership. At the Annual General Meeting, members elect a Members’ Committee of 12 Members. The purpose of the Members Committee is to:

  • represent members at Trustee meetings
  • review the organisation’s activities
  • suggest future activities and events
  • organise activities and events as appropriate and with support
  • put forward ideas for the development of the organisation
  • suggest and organise fund raising activities


Arty Party meets its objectives by:

organising training for people with learning disabilities, in Visual Art, Film, Performance, Music and Radio and Working in the Creative Industries.

Arty Party also regularly organises social activities, with the aim of reducing social isolation of learning disabled people in Telford and Shropshire. The Members Committee has considerable ownership of and control over the planning and hosting of these events.


Ensuring our work delivers our aims

We will review our aims, objectives and activities each year, considering our achievements and the outcomes of our work in the previous 12 months.  We will refer to the guidance contained in the Charity Commission’s general guidance on public benefit when reviewing our aims and objectives and in planning future activities. In particular, the Trustees will consider how planned activities will contribute to the aims and objectives they have set.


The focus of our work 2011 

Between September 2010 and June 2011, Arty Party provided a total of 76 workshop days plus 10 social events, funded by a Big Lottery, Reaching Communities grant. Average workshop attendance was 13 participants, and there were approximately 42 attendees per social event.

Work+Play was a successful three year Arty Party visual arts project, ending in June 2011. As a result of evaluation, procedures and processes were reviewed during the final 6 months of the project, to increase engagement of the participants in the planning process. Participants decided which galleries and museums they wanted to visit for research and development of ideas, and voted on the themes and venues of the final exhibitions. We organised 5 trips including a visit to the seaside, attendance at an international disability arts festival in Liverpool, 2 visits to regional galleries and museums and 1 trip to the launch of Arty Party’s Impossible Birds exhibition, which toured to Northampton in September 2010.

In June 2011, Arty Party delivered 3 final art exhibitions titled ‘Unhindered’ and ‘Deadly Serious’, to showcase the artwork of Arty Party members, with Lead Artist Jackie Champ, co-ordinated by Company Manager Rebecca Owen. The ‘Deadly Serious’ exhibition at Ironbridge Gorge Museum, Telford, was officially opened by the museum’s vice chair of trustees. The launch event was attended by other senior museum staff, local education and council representatives and politicians. Participating artists and wider members actively engaged guests in discussing the artwork and their involvement in Arty Party. Feedback from Ironbridge Gorge Museum Education Team, our working partners, was extremely positive. Over the following 5 days over 300 people visited the exhibition at Blists Hill Victorian Town Museum, as a direct result of participants actively going out and promoting the exhibitions to visitors as they arrived at the museum.  A programme of audience development events were organised around the exhibitions.

It is estimated that the art work across the three venues was seen by over 500 people. Audiences recorded their enthusiasm for the work, which clearly built on the reputation of learning disabled people as creative, employable and social citizens. Local media coverage included a special feature about the exhibitions and the Work+Play programme on BBC Radio Shropshire. This extended feature included interviews with participants, artists and exhibition partners and offered a great opportunity to challenge perceptions. It was a lively and positive feature, presented with great enthusiasm by the BBC radio presenter. All three exhibition partners expressed delight in the quality of the work produced and a desire to work with Arty Party and the artists again.

Feedback reflected great regret that the project had come to an end and concern that there was no alternative service or placement for the participant to go to.

“Arty Party has been different from [Name]’s usual activities. It is an activity that he has tackled independently from his family. It means he has something different to add to a conversation.”



The Members Committee was also involved in the accessible redesign of the Arty Party website, launched in May 2011, which features on-line portfolios for all Work+Play participants.


Additional Activities

Additional activities delivered during the period covered by this report include:


AGM/Social night – May 2011

Summer Social night including Summer Market – 29th July

‘Unhindered’ Exhibition tour to Gateway Art Centre 3rd-31st August

Members Sponsored Swim to raise funds – 21 Aug 2011

Members Electro Swing night – 11th Nov 2011

Members Christmas Party – Dec 2011

Theatre trip to see ‘Postcards from Blackpool’ 3rd Feb 2012


The Performance Group

Ray Jacobs, who has twenty years’ experience of working in performance and community arts, was contracted as Performance Director. A high quality efficient preparation and recruitment period, involving networking with Social Services, Adult Education and the Arty Party membership ensued. Ray then delivered a training programme for 10 learning disabled participants in all aspects of performance between April 2010 and May 2011.  Many participants were under the age of 25.


Weekly training sessions

46 weekly sessions ran from 12 April 2010 to 16th May 2011 and the average attendance during these sessions was 95%. The sessions were led by Performance Director Ray Jacobs, alongside Creative Advocates, Richard Edwards and Julie Watson. The project was extended by four weeks so performers could create a final sharing for Arty Party partners, stakeholders, friends and parents.


The weekly training classes focused on five major areas:

1. Creating a committed and creative group of performers with an understanding of professional ethics and etiquette.

2. Fostering the ability of performers to act spontaneously, to leave behind planned ideas and to follow creative impulses and urges.

3. Developing performance skills, including self-confidence on stage, physical movement skills and voice work.

4. Developing contemplative practice – The ability for performers, as artists, to reflect and create work in response to themes which are important to their inner and outer lives.

5. Regular performance experience.


In all areas, the individual members of the performance group showed great development.

A performance based workshop and presentation was delivered as part of the Normal festival in Prague in November 2011.

Arty Party partnered with Telford Wrekin Council to run a four day residency based on themes of Transition. An outreach team: Performance Director Ray Jacobs, Associate Artist Anna Ryder and Arty Party Member Mervyn Bradley, delivered the successful project.


Key achievements of the Performance Group from April 2010 – May 2011

  • Created two successful works for theatre and site specific locations.
  • Facilitated the training and development of ten learning disabled participants in all aspects of performance.
  • Facilitated the development of a strong committed group of performers.
  • Coordinated four guest workshops ran by inspiring directors from the West Midlands region and beyond.
  • Linked up with other Arty Party projects such as Work and Play and Arty Party social nights to act as strong role models for learning disabled people wishing to become more involved with the performing arts.
  • Brokered important relationships with organisations and artistic companies who we would like to continue developing work with, including Ironbridge Museums, The Shysters Theatre Company, Telford and Wrekin Council, Oska Bright Film Festival, The Other Way Works, Punch Drunk, Nick Parkin, The Wow Performance Group, Wolverhampton and Quarantine Theatre Company.
  • Continued to market and publicise the company’s short films to disability festivals worldwide including The Sprout Film Festival, New York, Cinema Touching disability film festival, Texas, Emotion Pictures, Athens, Integration you and Me, Poland and the Normal Festival in Czech Republic.


Organisation Capacity Change and Development 

With an Arts Council grant, we appointed a Company Manager and a Performance Director during 2010 and ran the year long performance training programme until May 2011, which led to contacts and partnerships with local government and third sector agencies.


The Company Manager appointment enabled us to develop a three year business plan, and

The organisation gained charitable status in Spring 2011. We have supported the needs of our members and developed an organisational structure which is transparent, representative and accountable to all our stakeholders, as well as supporting exciting and high quality art programmes.

Members of the Board of Trustees worked with the Company Manager, the local authority, and external evaluators to review organisational policies and procedures regarding data protection, accessibility and disability issues, along with office management and financial systems. The grant supported the organisation to make significant changes and facilitated a period of transition on many levels. Organisational development brought about staff changes, and the Company Manager’s priorities were redirected to accommodate the day to day running of the company and management of new project staff. Business and Fundraising Planning was suspended until June 2011.

The time frame within which Arty Party Organisational Capacity development has taken place saw significant changes in the national political and cultural environment. It has become more difficult to secure funding, especially for core costs. However, ACE’s new funding framework offers potential new opportunities and the organisation is exploring new partnerships, collaborations and fundraising opportunities.

The company can now build upon a new organisational structure and a strong legacy of achievement.


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