Held at the Trinity offices in East Croydon, I was invited to go along to a meeting to discuss applications for the Access Fund provided by the Arts Award, through Trinity. The Access Fund is a sum of money available for centres to help carry out different Arts Award, and enhance the quality of experience for the young people that wish to complete it. The Access Fund is named as such because it aims to benefit those young people that may have difficulty accessing the Arts Award, or opportunities in general. Any AA adviser can make an application for up to £1,500 for their centre.
This was the first time I had attended a meeting in a professional setting and initially I was a bit nervous, however everybody was really welcoming and helpful. The Panel consisted of members of different organisations that were all directly involved with the Arts Award; such as Arts Council England, the Royal Opera House, Arts Connect and of course, Trinity. Our job was to sort through a number of shortlisted applications, assess their plans and budget and choose how much money to give them.
I found this to be a really educational experience as I was able to learn about the process and reasoning for the way decisions are made. In reading the applications I gained a lot of inspiration for my own Gold Award as I gained an awareness of the projects other centres were carrying out. Having a panel from different organisations was helpful in the way that people were able to provide different information and their were different ways of thinking. This was good as it meant there was space to debate and find flaws, as well as work out better ways to help some centres. For example, a centre may have applied for a sum of money where they may have only needed half, yet we could discuss how much to give and offer different resources such as a support visit.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this experience and felt proud to represent the Youth Network. It showed me that we are, as members, directly involved in shaping the futures of the young people we represent.
If you would like some more information about the Access Fund and how it may help your centre, click here.