2018 Highly Commended

Accumulate delivers workshops to more than 100 young homeless people and those who are living in hostels and temporary accommodation.

Working in collaboration with Ravensbourne, a specialist Higher Education Institute for Design and Digital Media, the project aims to reverse the negative effects of homelessness by providing engaging and purposeful creative activities. Many of the learners have little or no qualifications, live in social exclusion and experience mental ill health.

Participants are offered a variety of workshops such as creative writing, drawing, photography and jewellery making exposing them to new environments, people and challenges. Learners also receive peer support and mentoring from past Accumulate participants.

The young people develop increased self-confidence, communication and employment skills. They benefit from new experiences and gain a new sense of self-worth, self-purpose and satisfaction.

Accumulate fundraises for scholarships for its learners to continue their education at college, enabling them to become productive members of society. Currently, six Accumulate learners are studying at Ravensbourne and each return to Accumulate as student helpers, passing their knowledge and experiences onto the new learners.

James Ward, Accumulate’s Chair and Associate Dean at Ravensbourne said “Both learners and student helpers experience how creative learning improves people’s lives and wellbeing. Accumulate breaks down barriers, opens up opportunities and increases awareness, diversity and progression options for all involved.”

One learner, Jamilla, said “Accumulate made me take a decision about my future. I would like to study further and find a job which I like − I have acquired transferable skills that will help me move forward.”