Thank you to Comic Relief


Comic Relief logoPress release, January 2017:
Independent Arts is thrilled to announce that it has been awarded a two-year grant from Comic Relief for its core work with older and disadvantaged people on the Isle of Wight.

Chief Executive Kate Ball said, "We are extremely grateful to Comic Relief for choosing to support our work at this time.

"Independent Arts celebrates its thirtieth anniversary this year and the grant will allow us to build on our previous achievements and prepare ourselves for the next two years and beyond.

"Specifically, we will be able to develop services through our Build from Strength project in order to reach more of the growing ageing population of the Island.

"We know that these are challenging times for small charities and that nationally competition for this funding was extremely fierce, so we are very proud that Independent Arts has been successful in its bid. We look forward to working with Comic Relief and our fellow grantees."


Independent Arts wins national Arts Council grant

Press release, 27 February 2017

Local charity Independent Arts has been awarded an £85,000 grant from Arts Council England to fund their new project Time & Tide. The Celebrating Age grant will fund an exciting Island-wide programme of participatory arts to increase older people’s engagement with cultural organisations and address social isolation.

Independent Arts has a 30-year history of supporting and promoting older people’s engagement in arts activities. Working in partnership with Age UK, Southern Housing Group, local museums and libraries, Time and Tide will provide new opportunities for older people to attend creative workshops, curate pop-up exhibitions and take part in cultural site visits, enabling them to experience and participate in high-quality arts and heritage activities. Through the charity’s involvement with the Age Friendly Island initiative a training and development programme will be offered to all partners to ensure their museums are welcoming places to older people.

Kate Ball, Chief Executive of Independent Arts said:

“The Isle of Wight has long suffered from a lack of investment in its arts and cultural provision. The Celebrating Age grant will enable Independent Arts to create a dynamic Island wide programme of participation in beautiful high quality arts initiatives. All our projects are aimed at inclusion, and we hope that in our thirtieth anniversary year, with this timely support from the Arts Council our project, Time & Tide will continue to build on our core aims of engaging the most isolated and disadvantaged members of our community with the extraordinarily rich arts and cultural heritage that is such a unique part of our Island history.”

Phil Gibby, Area Director, South West, Arts Council England, said:

“We believe that arts and cultural activities can make a huge difference in everyone’s lives – and even more so when those people are at greater risk of isolation. Celebrating Age recognises the positive role of arts and culture in overcoming social isolation for older people; supporting them to be more engaged in their local communities, to meet people and to have fun.”

The Time & Tide project will launch in October on International Older Persons Day and run until 2019.

Find Arts Council England's press release on the project funding here.
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New Monthly SingAbout for Bembridge and Yarmouth

In addition to our weekly SingAbout sessions, we have a fortnightly session in Sandown and new monthly sessions in Bembridge and Yarmouth.
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BSO entertain residents at Island care homes with Independent Arts

Press release, September 2017

BSO logoOlder residents at four of the island’s residential care homes are to be treated to an evening of musical entertainment by musicians from the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. The BSO already has an exciting programme of workshops for island schools planned during the last week in September, but thought it might be a great opportunity to also offer some musical entertainment to older people living in care homes who would rarely have the chance to listen to orchestral musicians playing together. Local arts charity Independent arts was then invited to approach four suitable residential care homes to arrange some evening performances.  

Project Manager Hannah Griffiths said:

“Some months ago Independent Arts were contacted by The Southern Music Hub regarding an outreach project that the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra were planning to bring to the Isle of Wight. We were thrilled to be able to help and always support really fruitful partnership work such as this. The care homes we invited to be involved were so pleased to receive the offer and are really looking forward to their performances.”

Musicians will be playing in small ensembles at Fairview and Vecta House in Newport, and Downside and Ward House in Ventnor, and have very generously offered their time and considerable skills free of charge. Each of the homes plan to make something of an event of the evening and have invited relatives and staff along too, so if you’re reading this and have relatives living in any of these homes but haven’t yet heard about the events please do put the date in the diary – it’s going to be a real treat!

Tuesday 26th September: Downside, Ventnor at 6pm

Tuesday 26th September: Ward House, Ventnor at 6pm

Friday 29th September: Vecta House, Newport at 6pm

Friday 29th September: Fairview, Newport at 6pm


The Poetry of Dementia exhibition (October 2017)

The Poetry of Dementia features fragments of poetry created by residents of Isle of Wight care homes during writing workshops led by Independent Arts practitioners, which have been matched with images by Kate Ball to create a series of beautiful panels. These went on display in the homes for residents, staff and visitors to enjoy.

Independent Arts brought the work to the wider public in this fascinating exhibition held at:

  • Lord Louis Library, Orchard Street, Newport, from 25th October to 23rd November 2017
  • Full Circle restaurant at St Mary's Hospital, Newport, from 28th November to 13th December 2017

More information below.

Poetry of Dementia exhibition

Poetry exhibitionIn 2016-17 Independent Arts ran a series of creative writing workshops in six residential homes across the island. The work shown in this exhibition has been selected from the body of writing that came from those workshops. Creative writing is an expressive medium particularly suited to those in long term residential settings and living with dementia. The project involved supported sessions with qualified practitioners who mediated ideas and imaginative expression through shared discussion to create beautiful pieces of poetry.

Participants listened to poetry and music and worked with a collection of tactile and visual resourses. In putting this exhibition together we wanted to display participants' contributions with sensitivity and dignity. Text is paired with specially created images, many from island locations, which aims to interpret, rather than simply illustrate, their voices.

What we learned from working with these groups in particular is that, even under the onslaught of a debilitating cognitive illness such as dementia, the human spirit retains an enduring ability for profound self-expression, and that where vocabulary may be lost, the mind still searches and seeks out beautiful ways to express itself creatively, and poignantly.

Human beings never lose the joy of language. These panels are full of invention, rhyme and curious pairings of words that create whole new worlds of meaning populated by strange 'tilseys' and 'mowbys', where people are stricken with 'mogity bogity' and where we first encountered the word 'pigifee'!

See the gallery page for more on this exhibition.


Brighstone Christmas Tree Festival (December 2017)

Brighstone Christmas Tree Festival 2017

Our Anxiety Café clients have been busy making baubles and decorations for Independent Arts' tree at Brighstone Christmas Tree Festival on the theme: "I want you to know…"

Go along to view our tree in Brighstone Parish Church – one of hundreds that make up this beautiful and inspiring festival. Free Admission. Dec 7th – 10th  from 10am to 5pm, and our tree will remain in the church until 31st December.


SingAbout Together

On Wednesday 20th December, 2–4pm at Newport Methodist Church, Quay Street, Newport, all our SingAbout groups will be joining together for a festive singalong. All welcome!


October 2017: Celebrating Age Festival workshops

Independent Arts held Time & Tide tasters where participants had the opportunity to try their hand at screen-printing, pastels, painting and felting. These drop-in sessions offered an informal approach to visual arts, and local artist Leigh Jackman was on hand to offer support and guidance.

Wednesday 4 October
at the Riverside Centre, Newport, 11am – 2pm

Thursday 5 October
at Sandown Library, 10.30am – 12.30pm


Celebrating Age Festival special events

Creative Café Extra!

2 October, 10am–2pm, Newport Methodist Church Hall PO30 5BA

Join us for an extended Creative Café as part of Celebrating Age Week. We will be running a quiz and mosaic making as well as our usual tea and company. We will be having a fellowship lunch, where particpants can enjoy getting to know each other over a shared meal. Free admission.

SingAbout Together – The Good Old Days

3 October, 2–4pm, Newport Methodist Church, Quay St PO30 5BA

As part of the island's Celebrating Age Festival, join our SingAbout groups from across the Island for a SingAbout Together, with a nod to the Music Hall. Interval refreshments baked by WOW Womens Centre baking group. Free admission.

NEW Ryde DanceMakers group!

Our free DanceMakers groups in Newport, Freshwater and Sandown are so popular, we've opened another in Ryde!
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Prize draw for pair of Isle of Wight Festival tickets

A big thank you to all who entered our prize draw on 2nd June for the chance to win a pair of weekend adult camping tickets for Isle of Wight Festival.
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News from DanceMakers

Due to popular demand, Sandown DanceMakers is adding a weekly Tuesday group at Sandown Library, 3.30–5.00pm from 7th February 2017.

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Share your Independent Arts memories with us


We are celebrating our thirtieth anniversary as a charity in 2017. To mark the date, we are looking for memories from people that the charity has worked with during the last thirty years.

Since becoming a charity in 1987, Independent Arts has delivered projects across the Island, working with various age groups and abilities. Running projects in local schools, community halls and the IOW prisons, the charity has touched thousands of lives and helped some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged people on the Isle of Wight.

Independent Arts has been able to help local people though grants from numerous trusts and foundations as well as local donations in support of its work. Projects have been made possible by the generous contribution that its many volunteers have made during the past three decades.

Today, Independent Arts provides Workshops for Wellbeing in local care homes, as well as vital community projects such as SingAbout, DanceMakers, Creative Café and Creative Writers. Our sessions reach over seven hundred people a week across the Island.

Share your stories and artwork
Project Manager, Hannah Griffiths, says,

“We are looking for stories to add to our timeline.

“If you or a member of your family has had their lives enriched by joining one of the projects Independent Arts has run over the last thirty years, then we would love to hear from you.

“If you still have an artwork you produced, photographs of an event you attended or just a happy memory we’d love to hear about it.”

Can you help?

Please contact us

Our supporters in 2017 included:

  • Arts Council England (Time & Tide)
  • Comic Relief (core funding)
  • The Big Lottery: Age Friendly Island (SingAbout, Creative Futures)
  • The Headley Trust (DanceMakers)
  • WightAid (Creative Writers)
  • The People's Health Trust (Singing for Breathing)
  • Barchester's Charitable Foundation (Magic Doors)
  • The Prince of Wales' Charitable Foundation
  • The Henry Smith Charity
  • The Fitton Charitable Trust
  • The PJK Charitable Trust
  • The Ernest Hecht Charitable Foundation
  • The Masonic Charitable Foundation
  • The Truemark Trust
  • The Daisie Rich Trust
  • The Derrill Allatt Foundation
  • The Charles Hayward Foundation (Creative Café)
  • Co-operative Community Fund – local partner scheme
  • The High Sheriff's Trust
  • David Waller (fundraising charity run for SingAbout)
  • Mrs Underwood (donation to Magic Doors project)
  • Cowes Moovers (assistance with exhibitions)
  • Howdens, Isle of Wight (donation of materials for display stands)

David's Big Run

A huge thank you to David Waller, who set himself the challenge of running all the way from the Isle of Wight to Bath in Somerset during May 2017, raising more than six hundred pounds for Independent Arts! David is a regular at our Ventnor SingAbout group and says,

"The sessions are led by Creative Practitioner Lizzie Flynn who is so vibrant and inspiring and I love attending. Recently Independent Arts asked if anyone would be interested in fundraising for them. Independent Arts is such a small charity on the Isle of Wight but have always enabled their community groups to remain free for everyone to attend. I thought what a perfect way to help them raise money and continue the valuable work they do."

Inspired? It's easy to get started with fundraising for Independent Arts. Please check out our fundraising ideas page or contact us for more information.


Anonthology Volume II

Our young writers group, The Anon Writers, launched their latest book at Strings Bar and Venue in Newport on Thursday 21st September 2017. A packed house enjoyed spoken word performances by the authors, and the books sold out!

Anonthology Volume II launch poster

Creative Writing Challenge

Children aged 7– 11 joined in our creative writing challenge at libraries around the island during June and July 2017.

They explored magical realms, mythical creatures and Minecraft adventures in our creative writing workshops.

Sessions were free to attend and materials were supplied.

Creative Writing Challenge

Ben Rouse is new High Sheriff (April 2017)

In April 2017 Ben was sworn in as High Sheriff of the Isle of Wight, a position he will hold for one year. Ben has been a trustee of Independent Arts since 2010 and is pictured here with Kate Ball, our Chief Executive and Wendy Varley, Chair of Independent Arts' board of trustees.

Calling young writers!

We're delighted that, thanks to a grant from WightAID, Independent Arts' Creative Writers project is continuing in 2017.
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Wight Aid

NEW: Singing for Recovery

SingAbout: Singing for Recovery

A new weekly session on The Stroke Unit at St Mary's for those recovering from stroke or with long term conditions.
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