Within London, the number of people living on the streets is at a level never before experienced. Tower Hamlets, where Cardboard Citizens is based, remains one of the most deprived boroughs of London. Cardboard Citizens is uniquely placed to make a real and lasting difference in the lives of thousands of homeless people. Since our founding, we have reached 34,000 people affected by or at-risk of homelessness.
We are seeking support to deliver a targeted programme of outreach in Tower Hamlets, in day services, youth centres and prisons in summer 2020. We will target up to 8 settings within Tower Hamlets, in order engage with those who are most at risk and not accessing support services. Sessions will use the power of theatre to tackle some of the negative images of homelessness and find solutions for greater community understanding and cohesion - working to ensure all of our activity improves the places and spaces accessed by homeless people in Tower Hamlets and beyond.
What we'll deliver:
- Increased access to the arts for homeless and at-risk people living in Tower Hamlets through professional theatre
- Reduced isolation amongst homeless and at risk people in Tower Hamlets through bringing people together
- Increased Cardboard Citizens presence in Tower Hamlets as a trusted organisation for those excluded from society
- Up to 150 homeless and at risk people reached as audience members across Tower Hamlets and East London
- Up to 6 Members (Our term for service users) are trained to become Ambassadors and Facilitators to support the tour
Why it's a great idea:
Access to the arts has a huge impact on homeless individuals. Research suggests that after engaging with the arts, 82% of people in deprived communities enjoyed greater wellbeing (Creative Health 2017). This project will enhance the level of arts provision for homeless people in Tower Hamlets. Through the tour we will be able to recruit those with experience of homelessness in to our core programme of work, which offers ongoing progression and wellbeing support through year-round performing-arts based workshops, training and qualifications.
Performances will be supported by Member (our ‘service-users’) Ambassadors who will facilitate discussions around key themes displayed in the play and advocate our work. Ambassadors will also deliver outreach sessions to increase buy-in and establish trust and rapport amongst audiences. This, in turn, helps vulnerable audiences discuss and consider issues they may face in their lives, and establish alternative ways of overcoming them.
Steps to get it done:
- We will confirm Member Ambassador job roles and circulate applications to Membership
- We will reach out to hostels, day centres and prisons to secure venues
- We will rehearse the performance piece
- We will train our Member Ambassadors
- We will host preview performances at Citz HQ
- We will tour to venues across Tower Hamlets including at Cardboard Citizens HQ, Hostels and day centres
- We will generate content for summer outreach workshops based on performances
- We will undertake outreach workshops at all hostels
- We will induct new members into Cardboard Citizens' wider work
Cardboard Citizens is highly experienced in bringing professional theatre into non-theatre venues and environments, engaging those who often are unable to participate in - and benefit from - the arts. We have delivered annual hostel tours for almost our entire 28-year existence, reaching thousands of homeless and vulnerable people.
This year’s Hostel Tour will showcase the performance piece Life By The Throat, a fierce yet tender piece of solo storytelling written by award-winning writer and performer Eve Steele. Steele has herself lived experience of domestic violence, addiction issues, the criminal justice system and homelessness. She has used her real life experiences growing up to help shape this hard-hitting and poignant play.