Pan Intercultural Arts

“I feel more open for myself; I don’t feel worried and now I can’t wait for Tuesday to come again because you are like my family. I’m so thankful that I found them and I’m still with them and I want to be again with them.” Enke, Amies member

London

Charity Location

£75,000

Grant Size

3 years

Funding Period

Pan Intercultural Arts is a London based charity that works with people who are marginalised seeking to transform their lives through creative activity. They regularly work with people who have barriers expressing themselves, and through therapeutic arts-based activities, they help their clients have fun, find their voice and learn what they want to be in life so they can enjoy safer and more fulfilling lives.

 

Lloyds Bank Foundation funds Pan’s Amies London project with a three-year grant of £75,000. Amies is a therapeutic arts-based yearlong project for women who have survived human trafficking. Named by the first participants nine years ago, Amies means female friends in French which is precisely what the participants get during the project.

Annabel Rook, Amies Project Director, Pan Intercultural Arts

 

Annabel Rook, Amies Project Director describes the work of the charity:

“The Amies London Project works by using the arts to help people reconnect with themselves and give them an opportunity to think about who they are when they’re not having to think about all other stresses in life. We create a safe space and encourage them to make friends, express themselves and run around the room and be silly and let themselves go. Being able to do that is incredibly freeing and it can give you a stronger sense of self.”  

 

Amies Project

Amies runs weekly for 42 sessions, the women who participate can achieve a sense of routine and feel supported by Pan, knowing they’re there each week. The sessions are broken down into three different blocks. The first part is bonding, getting to know the participants and building confidence. During these sessions, they encourage all the women to talk with each other, learn about one another and feel supported. Close friendships come from this.

 

Following this they begin to work on obstacles, identifying what stands in the participant’s way. Then they imagine what it would be like if those obstacles were not there so they can begin to talk about dreams, aspirations and hopes for the future.

Amies Project, Pan Intercultural Arts Amies Project, Pan Intercultural ArtsAmies Project, Pan Intercultural ArtsAmies Project, Pan Intercultural Arts

 

Annabel’s words, this is "so important because so many of the women who come to us have had such a traumatic history, so they just don’t believe that there’s a positive future out there for them at all. They never thought about what they may be able to do or who they could become.

 

"Everybody in their lives, whether it’s the home office or safe house, centre on their past lives and what’s happened to them. We focus on who you are now and who you’re going to be in the future. We focus on building participants' confidence and then empowering them. By helping participants access their creativity,  we remind them they have the tools they need to make big changes in their lives and encourage them to follow their dreams." 

 

The final block is focused on where their participants can go next. Here they signpost women to other useful organisations or host meetings with the group. This ensures that the support mechanism continues after the women leave Amies. Annabel continues:

“If we had our way, we’d keep the group rolling with an alumni group on and on, but we can’t because we’re working with 25 new women every year. We have to make sure they’re ready for what’s happening next and they’ve got that in place when they finish. We’re a lifeline for the women every week and taking that away can be unsettling so we also set women up with voluntary roles in a range of different organisations and help find routes to paid employment. We also help with courses; let them know which courses are available for them and try to help them sign up. This is so by the end of the year they’re ready to move on to the next thing.”

 

Where possible, the charity keeps working with participants after the completion of their one-year project. The charity trains past participants to go on to become peer mentors and artist facilitators who can then support new participants, one of them has moved on to becoming a Project Director.

 

Asma, Pan Intercultural ArtsOne of the charity’s past members, Asma, now runs the creche during the Amies workshops. Since completing the one year Amies Project with the charity, Asma has also found employment and she’s used her personal experience of interviewing to teach the existing participants and hold mock interviews with them.

 

“I understand whoever comes to Amies because I have been through the same situation and I know how it was physically and mentally. Aimies, more than anything, support women with their mental health. Most of us had suicidal thoughts, now if you ask me, I say no because I have so much opportunity out there. Slowly every week I was coming I was getting that support and that knowledge because when we finish they don’t just let you go just like that they make sure that you have those links where you will get support continuously because we can’t always stay here. For me Pan is like an umbrella, rain or shine they’ll always be here for me and for every single woman who joins.” Asma, past Amies member

 

“We want to do more to support those who have experienced Amies, it would be great to offer additional training to help them take on new roles within and outside Pan. But the funding for that is really hard to get because there aren’t many pots of funding for charities providing training.” Sue Murray, Development Officer

 

FundingSue Murray, Development Officer, Pan Intercultural Arts

“The challenge is the nitty-gritty, not enough hours in the day to do the work we do and not enough of us. The inevitability about working in a charity is that you don’t spend much money on the running of the organisation and that puts a lot of pressure on the staff to make it work efficiently. You’re constantly re-applying for money that you need all the time.”

Sue Murray, Development Officer

 

Core costs and long term, flexible funding is vital at a time when money is not widely available. Like many, Pan Intercultural Arts has felt the effects of years of austerity. Pan’s Development Officer, Sue Murray explains:

“There was a big switch in policy, immediately less money was available in local community councils which put a lot more emphasis on people applying for grants and suddenly there was a lot more competition. People haven’t been giving as much either. There’s more awareness of corporates to give but they don’t have the history or systems in place to enable that.”

 

Support form Lloyds Bank Foundation

The funding from Lloyds Bank Foundation covers all costs of running the Amies project over three years. This includes paying for the children to be looked after and additional space for them to play. Many of the women who come to the weekly sessions will bring their children with them. It’s often the only time in the week that the women have time away from their children which is invaluable for so many of them. Alongside this, the funding also covers the costs of two artists who help with the sessions, transport and food.

 

Amies Project, Pan Intercultural ArtsPan Intercultural Arts are working on being more sustainable as a charity and exploring other sources of funding after seeing many charities going under. To achieve this the charity has set up a development committee following the income generation consultancy support provided by the Foundation. This has led to them organising fundraising events, networking with corporates and more. They’re now working on creating a podcast to help people understand their place in society. As Sue puts it “not just to do our job but to share the understanding of our job”.

 

Alongside that consultancy support, Lloyds Bank Foundation has also commissioned consultants to support the charity in developing a corporate engagement strategy and a business plan. The Foundation has also helped the charity recruit a new trustee with corporate fundraising experience by covering costs of advertising on Reach Volunteering as well as a trustee from Lloyds Banking Group (via the Foundation’s trustee programme) who brings additional corporate experience.

 

“You’re a very supportive and good funder. We have appreciated the additional help you’ve given. We’ve had a very positive experience and I’d recommend it.” Sue Murray

I am with them for the last three years, so my role has changed. First year I was one of the 25 women that come to Amies. In the beginning, it was very hard for me to come here because I don’t know anyone, I was scared and ashamed, but slowly I got the confidence. We started doing arts, singing, dancing, drama. As soon as I started, it was like my fun had just begun. These two hours I’m going to enjoy as much as I can. They always encourage you and give hope, they open the path for us. That’s what I always got from Pan, from the last three years and the future. Whoever is part of Pan, we’re all here because they never leave us, they’re always there for you.

Asma, past Amies member

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