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Arts Connect in East Sussex 2013-14

Arts Connect has been recommissioned to run 2014-15. Click here for more information.

The Arts Connect programme supported adults with learning disabilities to develop their arts interests and skills.  Three arts courses in film, music and dance were offered in arts venues across East Sussex, a celebration event created a platform to share the work alongside other arts activities in Sussex, and a volunteer programme enabled 12 volunteers to support the programme and learn new skills.

The programme was commissioned by ESCC Adult Social Care and Public Health.

Who was involved

  • 35 people with learning disabilities living in East Sussex, with support from their carers and day services
  • Practitioners: Nick Pilton, film maker, Richard Phoenix, musician, and Anne Colvin, dancer
  • Julia Roberts, project manager
  • Mark Dimmock, project photographer
  • 12 volunteers
  • Delivery partners: De La Warr Pavilion, the Birley Centre and staff and students from Eastbourne College, All Saints Centre Lewes, Carousel
  • Programme funding and support: Sussex Learning Solutions, Arts Award, East Sussex Arts Partnership, Active Student, University of Brighton
  • Celebration event partners: Active Arts, Stay Up Late, Fresh Tracks, Oska Bright, Sprungdigi, Care for the Carers, East Sussex libraries


To explore the role of the arts in supporting people with learning disabilities to lead fulfilling lives in their communities


  • To develop creative skills and interests of all involved
  • To promote active and healthy lifestyles
  • To connect people with learning disabilities with arts facilities in their communities
  • To develop skills and capacity in the arts sector to engage with and support people with LD accessing the arts


28 people committed to the whole 10 week course, another 8 participated in some sessions.  7 films were made, a band formed, a CD recorded, and dance work developed.  Each group visited an exhibition, and explored the locality as a stimulus for their work.

12 people will submit portfolios for Bronze Arts Award.

6 participants have gone on to access other arts opportunities, travelling independently to join new groups.

Participants and carers all remarked on the value of meeting new people and working with others around a joint creative endeavour.

Many remarked on new skills learned and their increased levels of confidence and self esteem.

You can download the full evaluation report here.


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It lifted my mood.


My overriding feeling is one of ‘what a great experience for everyone.’  The joy on the faces of the presenters was so evident and the audience was engaged throughout.

Adult social care team at ESCC

L has enjoyed doing something in her local community and meeting new people. She has always loved music and dance has given her a new way of expressing herself and learning new skills within a group.


It was great to be at the concert and to see everyone having such a brill time! Think F increased his self belief a few notches!