Can you tell our readers a bit about what you do?
A New Direction is a London-based non-profit generating opportunities for children and young people to unlock their creativity.
London is one of the greatest creative hubs in the world. Every day, thousands of the children and young people who live here are inspired by the city’s culture to unleash their own creative side. They have the chance to develop their skills, talents and passions, becoming people who can thrive in a challenging, changing world and boost our wider society.
But there are also thousands of young people who miss out on London’s creative opportunities. Barriers of inequality or simple lack of support stop young people from reaching their creative potential, which has knock-on effects for their chances of personal fulfilment and success in later life. But, inequality is not set in stone, and we can make London into a city with equal opportunities to engage with culture and be creative for all young people and children.
Our programme of work is varied – we work with partners across education, the creative and cultural sectors and beyond to make connections, build networks and support and develop work around children and young people. We run conferences and events, and develop learning and professional development opportunities for the cultural sector. We support the development of Local Education Partnerships, and through our partnership investment programme, Challenge London, we work with partners to address the big thematic or local issues facing children and young people in the capital. We support Arts Award across London, running pilot programmes, developing local networks and delivering training, and run briefings for cultural organisations keen to support Artsmark registered schools and other educational establishments on their journey to embed arts and culture across the curriculum.
What is the best way for people to approach you?
What makes your organisation stand out? How do you make a difference to the sector?
As a sector support organisation we aim to unite everyone behind our goal of helping all children and young people in London unlock their creative and cultural potential. We are committed to working with organisations at the front line: schools, cultural venues, local authorities and businesses, and unite those organisations to campaign for better policies that serve children and young people. We organise joint events and projects to reach a broader audience, and connect young people to mentors, work experience and inspiration, providing opportunities for organisations to come together, discuss, support and learn from colleagues across the sector.
What new initiatives do you have coming up?
We have just launched LookUp – the culture search for London schools, an online tool to help London schools navigate, search for and engage with arts & cultural organisations and opportunities. Organisations are invited to add a profile to our list of over 700 organisations (adding search filters including artform, key stage and location, as well as Artsmark Partner and Arts Award Supporter status). Setting up a listing is free, and organisations can also post opportunities for schools (projects, workshops, INSET, events and performances) in the Things To Do feature. LookUp is free and simple to use, and we hope you find it useful.
What else would you like our readers to know about you and your work?
Alongside our sector support work, we run an employability programme for young Londoners called Create Jobs. Through this, we aim to transform London’s workforce by supporting and developing individuals who are underrepresented in the creative and digital industries. Our training programmes are designed with leading creative employers.
1 in 6 jobs in London is in the creative industries, and the industry generates £91.8bn for the UK economy per year, but we know that these sectors suffer from a severe lack of diversity in the workforce. In 2016, only 5% of jobs in London’s creative economy were held by people from less-advantaged socio-economic groups. Fewer women work the creativity economy than the wider economy (35% compared to 44%), and only 23.4% of the workforce are from BAME backgrounds, compared to 33% in the wider economy.
We run training programmes for talented, creative and diverse young Londoners to try and address this, and can help organisations and employers in the creative and cultural sector to do the same through their own recruitment, and partnering with us on the delivery of our training programmes such as STEP, Creativity Works and Flipside.