Developing a creative economy and community is about ensuring that people gain access to cultural activities and have a chance to participate and develop their skills and see the possibilities that these offer.
Over the last 8 years, we have pioneered the use of cultural and arts projects to deliver a wide variety of social outcomes and benefits. Projects have involved people with many different backgrounds all of whom have benefited from arts activities designed to improve their self-confidence and self-esteem, sociability and social integration, deliver health improvements and to teach and develop creative and life skills.
Social Impact Declaration: Social-Impact-Declaration_Watermans.pdf
Social Impact Statements:
Social Impact Statements
The Social Enterprise Mark criteria includes a requirement that the applicant can demonstrate that social and/or environmental objectives are being achieved.
In support of this, new applicants and renewing Mark holders must submit Social Impact Statements that summarise their headline activities and achievements, helping show how they are striving to make a difference and stand up to scrutiny of purpose as a social enterprise.
1) Engaging with local communities
Watermans’ mission is to inspire communities through creative practice, with three specific goals:
- to build an engaging and interactive programme with West London communities
- to bring communities together through cultural participation
- to promote engagement with innovative digital and new media arts practice
Watermans is rooted and directly engaged in its community, stimulating creativity and cultural participation, but also contributes to other aspects of community development through its work in education and learning, health and social care, regeneration and community cohesion.
To achieve these goals, Watermans offers a balanced and inclusive arts programme, which aims to appeal to as wide a public as possible and engage communities that typically do not access existing arts and cultural facilities. It delivers these programmes across Hounslow and in other boroughs across West and South London, principally through contracts with public sector agencies and collaboration with other arts organisations, schools and colleges.
Programme strands include:
- New Media Arts, which uses new and digital technologies as an integral part of the creative process in visual and performance-based work
- Performing arts, incorporating theatre, music, dance and cabaret. The programme includes regular events of particular interest to South Asian communities, and support for developing artists as residences
- Participative arts, including a wide range of regular workshops/classes and intensive projects, both at Watermans and out in communities across West and South London
- Children’s Theatre, including performances every weekend and during school holidays, and a Christmas show for December
- Independent cinema, seven days per week, offering 1300 screenings per year for mainstream audiences and those with particular needs
- Outdoor Arts - theatre and dance, music, installations, film screenings and festivals, bringing major London-wide cultural events to Hounslow
- Formal and informal work experience opportunities for young people interested in pursuing a career in the Arts
Watermans also leads the delivery of the Arts Council England (ACE) funded, Creative People and Places (CPP) programme in Hounslow. CPP has the specific goal of increasing community engagement with the arts, especially in areas where there is low engagement with existing facilities. Watermans is also engaged in building links with local schools and colleges to support them in developing their Arts curriculum through another ACE initiative, the Cultural Education Partnership.
2) Measures of activity
In 2015/16 Watermans has engaged with more than 230,000 Hounslow and West London residents. Specific groups include:
- Local communities and especially families with young children, by providing a rich cross-arts programme of exhibitions, cinema, theatre, performing and creative arts workshops, and through local, regional and national festival events and programmes of activities for school holidays
- Local schools and performing arts organisations, by providing an affordable professionally-equipped performance and exhibition venue, and though workshops and activities to support their programmes. More than 20 schools and arts groups have performed at Watermans this year
- Through its specialist New Media Arts programme and links with schools who exhibit their work at Watermans, Watermans enables West London residents to engage with quality artwork and explore world issues and concepts through new artforms
- Watermans supports a range of specific community groups, including older people with disabilities, and families with disabled young people through special events and support projects. For West London’s Indian and South Asian communities, Watermans offers an Asians Arts programme of theatre, music and dance performances and workshops, and hosts the London Indian and South Asian film festivals
- Watermans high quality Outdoor Arts programme brings regional, national and international artists and productions to Hounslow High Street where they attract an annual audience of more than 30,000. The productions are selected to be easily accessible and relevant to the highly diverse audience, and feature theatre, dance and installation pieces which explore world themes and invite the audience to view the local area from a new perspective
- Through Watermans outreach programmes, Watermans engages with residents throughout Hounslow. This has led to the establishment of a Community Choir and Community Brass Band with more than 40 members each which rehearses weekly, participation in national festivals for community-led creative arts, and workshop programmes to support outdoor arts events and exhibitions
3) Providing education and learning opportunities to enrich lives
Through its Arts programmes, Watermans has provided education and learning opportunities, which foster life enriching creative abilities, skills & interests, and support participants develop greater self-confidence in working with others and achieving their goals.
Young people especially often see artists and event organisers as role models, and Watermans has enabled those interested in the creative arts as a career with opportunities to explore life in a busy arts centre as interns.
Through it's outreach programme, Watermans has empowered local communities to develop their own arts programmes, with participation in national creative arts festivals and workshops in support of major outdoor arts events and exhibitions.
Watermans inclusive approach brings significant Health and Social Care benefits to groups who might feel isolated to be engaged mentally, physically and socially, including parents with very young children, families with disabled young people, seniors, those with learning difficulties and others outside the mainstream.
For example, Urban Ambush, Watermans flagship creative arts workshop programme for young people, is widely attended by young people supported by bursaries from Hounslow Youth Services who are socially disadvantaged or have behavioural, learning and physical disabilities, as well as those who can afford to pay. This provides a highly diverse experience from which the young people gain appreciably in self-confidence and awareness of others.
Hounslow is home for a diverse and changing group of communities. Watermans supports these communities by promoting regeneration and community cohesion; a sense of belonging, neighbourliness, ownership and pride, volunteering and community engagement through its programmes. Participants report a greater sense of connection with others and pride in their neighbourhood.
- Feedback from the Watermans NT-Live programme, which brings world class performances to local audiences at an affordable cost
- Watermans specialist New Media Arts programme, which attracts visitors from across London as well as locally to high-quality exhibitions and events which might otherwise be inaccessible to Hounslow residents
- Watermans outdoor arts programme, which supports local businesses by providing additional custom, and promotes the central Hounslow as a friendly and vibrant place where visitors actively engage with the event and each other
All of this activity furthers the goals of promoting a sense of belonging, neighbourliness, ownership and pride, volunteering and community engagement in Hounslow.