The Investment Programme promotes mutually beneficial relationships between commerce and culture. It is designed to encourage inspirational, sustainable partnerships between businesses and the arts organisations they sponsor to maximise the benefits of working together.
Below are some examples of projects we have been delighted to support this year through the Investment Programme.
Ulster Orchestra & Ulster Carpets
Ceara School is a fully integrated school and teaches children from age four upwards with a range of challenges which make learning more difficult. Janet Warwick, the teacher in charge of Class 18 (the Leavers Class), explains that teaching her pupils social skills which can be used beyond school is vital as they prepare to leave education at the end of the school year. This is why projects such as the ‘Music Room’, supported by Ulster Carpets and the Arts & Business NI Investment Programme are so important.
The Music Room is a community engagement project, run by the Ulster Orchestra and this set of workshops in Ceara School has been supported and enhanced by Ulster Carpets sponsorship.
Through Arts & Business NI and Ulster Carpets’ financial support students will enjoy the Music Room project, which enlisted the services of a specialist trainer, Eve Harrison, from Jessie’s Fund. Eve will lead the first series of interactive workshops and will equip teachers, classroom assistants and the Ulster Orchestra players with the skills required to continue the workshops beyond the initial three-month programme. Working towards a final showcase at the end of March, the pupils work alongside the Ulster Orchestra players and Eve to create a soundtrack to a short film. The pupils very much lead the process, using their imaginations and creativity to direct the players as to the sounds they want to create. This increases confidence, encourages decision making and creativity and also advances social interaction with other adults. Thanks to the support of Ulster Carpets and the match funding from Arts & Business NI, the workshops will not only deliver a lot of fun and new experiences for Class 18, it will also leave behind a tangible benefit to both the Ceara School and the Ulster Orchestra players who will continue the Music Room Project.
Grand Opera House & Lockton
Showing their dedication to inspiring the next generation of Northern Ireland’s business leaders, leading commercial insurance broker Lockton recently celebrated the conclusion of its ‘Locked-On’ project held in conjunction with the Grand Opera House and supported by Arts & Business Northern Ireland. As a global company Lockton is committed to playing a meaningful role in local communities. To celebrate their 50th birthday David Lockton has challenged all Lockton Associates to participate in the “50 for 50 challenge”, during the coming year to globally volunteer in 50,000 hours of activities focused on helping and developing children and young people. This project was an arts-based mentoring programme to help a group of GCSE boys develop an awareness of their essential skill sets and how these would apply to future career paths. The programme paired up twelve Year 11 students from Belfast’s Malone and Corpus Christi Colleges with mentors from Lockton’s growing Belfast office for an 8 week series which included creative arts workshops, hands-on coaching and mentorship and a mock interview.
“The partnership forged between Lockton’s team and the students of Malone and Corpus Christi Colleges has been a mutually beneficial one which we hope continues to inspire both the mentors and mentees for years to come,” said Nigel Sloan, VP, Lockton Belfast. “While Lockton’s team members have developed essential skills for coaching and mentoring young people, which can be applied to future team members on our graduate schemes or indeed young students in coming years, the students have also developed the tools required to make positive decisions as they progress toward GCSEs and their desired careers, whether they choose to navigate down an academic route or if they choose a vocational or trade-focused career.”
“We have been delighted by the dedication shown by the Lockton team to this programme throughout its execution” said Áine Dolan, Partnership & Development Manager, Grand Opera House Belfast. “The success of the Locked-On Initiative demonstrates how the arts can work in partnership with local business for the benefit of the community.”
Joining students and staff at the final session of Locked-On, renowned mentalist, business mentor and motivational speaker David Meade, added anecdotes of his own personal career path and the importance of skills such as decision making and problem solving to his inspirational talk for students and mentors alike before presenting students with miniature ‘Oscar’ awards for their excellence while on the ‘Locked-On’ programme.
At the culmination of the Locked-On project held this week at Belfast’s Grand Opera House Kate Livingston, Arts & Business NI added, “Arts & Business NI were delighted to be involved in this project. ‘Locked-On’ is a prime example of how arts can positively impact on professional development and the students of Malone and Corpus Christi Colleges obviously had a lot fun taking part and learning new skills which will be beneficial throughout their school and professional career paths.”
Arts & Business is generously supported by The Arts Council of Northern Ireland.