Element is a social enterprise that runs creative arts projects with care leavers. We use visual art, performance art, and creative writing to explore themes relating to purpose and motivation. Our projects finish with an exhibition of participants‚Äö√Ñ√¥ art: their work has been shown at the V&A, Tate Britain and the Saatchi Gallery. Since starting in 2016 we‚Äö√Ñ√¥ve worked with 8 Local Authorities across 11 projects, working with over 90 young people. After a project, young people become part of the Element network, with access to employability and arts opportunities through our partners, and facilitated meet-ups including trips to theatres, galleries, and comedy shows.
We are a small, dynamic team with a big mission: to create spaces where care leavers can develop their creative identities and are recognised as individuals with purpose and potential. We care about raising expectations of care leavers and of the system they find themselves in.
Over 10,000 young people leave care each year in the UK. Young people are taken into care for a variety of reasons including family breakdown, abuse or neglect, and seeking asylum. Local authorities have a statutory duty to support care leavers with issues such as housing, benefits, education and employment up to the age of 25. However, budgets are under intense pressure and social workers often have neither the time, the resources or the flexibility to offer holistic forms of support to their young people. This is why Element‚Äö√Ñ√¥s work is important.
Element is run by one full-time CEO and a part-time member of staff with additional freelance and voluntary support. We have a six person strong board with a variety of expertise including a former Element participant who acts as our Young Associate. Element projects are commissioned and part-funded by local authorities. We have also been supported by national grant-giving charities including Arts Council England, Esm‚àö¬©e Fairbairn, Unltd and the Fore Trust.