25th Anniversary gifts

We celebrated our 25th anniversary year in 2012/13, making gifts to the Roundhouse Studios, Jaipur Foot and for Circuit, led by Tate. We made two further gifts early this year, for five ‘Paul Hamlyn Clubs’ at performance venues around the country, and to The Reading Agency. Here, we also give details of the first year’s operation of the Circuit programme.

Paul Hamlyn Club Awards

A five-year access and audience development scheme for hard-to-reach people who do not attend live performing arts events

£2,517,567 in 2013/14

In May 2013, we announced £2.5m of awards to five performing arts venues, as one of the Foundation’s 25th Anniversary gifts. Sherman Cymru (Cardiff), Citizens Theatre (Glasgow), Opera North (Leeds), Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Hall for Cornwall (Truro) were each awarded £500,000 over five years to expand and sustain their audiences, with a particular focus on disadvantaged people and communities who do not attend events at these venues.

All five organisations have started to develop their plans through a research and development phase – considering carefully who to target, the nature of the barriers that prevent people from attending, and which community organisations to work with. During this initial phase, potential target groups and local community partners started to emerge.

Ticketing schemes are central to all the Clubs, where free or significantly reduced tickets are made available to members of the target groups, and several approaches and mechanisms have been tested to date.

In December 2013 and March 2014, the members of staff from the five organisations coordinating the Paul Hamlyn Clubs came together – first in Liverpool and then in Truro – to compare notes on their experiences so far. The five Clubs are supported by an evaluator, Annabel Jackson, and a consultant, Kate Tyndall.

The Reading Agency

Support towards additional digital capacity and the Reading Activists programme

£1,000,000 in 2013/14

We announced our final 25th Anniversary gift, of £1m to The Reading Agency, in July 2013. The Reading Agency works to inspire people to read more. It believes that confident and skilled readers have greater aspirations and opportunities, and that reading brings enjoyment and increases wellbeing. Our gift was to expand and develop The Reading Agency’s digital capacity and its Reading Activists programme, which enables young people to volunteer through their local libraries to encourage other young people to read more.

The Reading Agency is in the process of developing a new digital strategy and improving the content and capacity of its websites to engage with readers for its Summer Reading and Six Book Challenges. In partnership with libraries, the Summer Reading Challenge helps to motivate primary-age children to read for pleasure during the summer, helping to prevent the summer dip in literacy skills noted by teachers. The Six Book Challenge aims to build the reading confidence and motivation of adults who struggle with reading.

The Reading Activists programme uses reading and libraries as a springboard for community activism. The Reading Agency supports young people (aged 11–24) from deprived communities to set up reading and writing groups. The aim is to build an enjoyment of reading among people of all ages, through organising creative events and participating in social action. Through volunteering, the Activists develop their own skills, confidence and employability. In 2013/14, our funding has enabled The Reading Agency to research and design a new Reading Activists Challenge and specific website to increase its engagement with young people. These will be launched during 2014.


A national programme connecting 15 to 25 year olds to the arts in galleries and museums, working in partnership with the youth and cultural sectors.

Circuit was launched through an Anniversary gift of £5m made in 2012/13.

Led by Tate, Circuit provides opportunities for young people to steer their own learning and create cultural activity across art disciplines in eight locations across the UK. These include Cambridgeshire (Wysing Arts Centre and Kettle’s Yard), Colchester (firstsite), Liverpool (Tate Liverpool), Llandudno (MOSTYN), London (Tate Britain and Tate Modern), Manchester (Whitworth Art Gallery), Nottingham (Nottingham Contemporary) and St Ives (Tate St Ives). It is designed with and for young people.

The core values of the programme are about making a positive difference for young people, allowing them to develop ownership, agency and authenticity in the work they do, and promoting social, cultural and creative diversity.

Its aims are to work with and for young people to: increase cultural access and opportunities; to build sustainable partnerships between the arts and youth sectors; to change practice within and across cultural organisations; and to improve attitudes and behaviour towards young people.

Research and evaluation are crucial to Circuit’s aims and a range of data has already been captured to improve understanding of the profile, motivation, demographic, satisfaction and learning experiences of participants and audiences.

Fourteen staff have now been recruited across the Circuit sites to work on this four-year £5m programme. Key achievements in 2013/14 include 244 young people developing projects and events for other young people, the Circuit website going live, and 108,803 participants engaging through digital programmes. A total of 21,251 audience members engaged in Circuit events, with 13,696 people participating directly through projects, workshops and events steered and developed by young people. Circuit now has 87 youth and cultural organisations involved in research, dialogue and delivery.