Inclusive Practice in the Arts Image: MK Gallery

MK Gallery has announced that new funding from MK Community Foundation and The Paul Hamlyn Foundation will enable it to continue and expand its Inclusive Practice in the Arts programming for local families with children with complex support needs.

The programme began in 2017, and this funding will ensure it can run for another four years.

The success and need of the original programme were demonstrated by the enthusiastic response from families and a growing waiting list. As one parent reported:

“I cannot put in to words the difference this has made to my child’s life, she is more confident, self-assured, assertive and happy.

“And as a family, we enjoy bonding time together, an opportunity to interact, work together, laugh together… very precious moments to me as a parent.”

Although the majority of the families on the programme live in Milton Keynes, families from Bedfordshire are eligible to apply for places.

Anthony Spira, MK Gallery’s director, said:

“We are delighted to have the continued support of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and MK Community Foundation to enable us to expand this vital programme. It’s part of our commitment to providing the very best arts experiences for all.

“We’ve welcomed families with children who seemed unlikely to cross the threshold of the gallery, yet they stayed for the full duration of a session and left thanking the artist by name or by giving them a high five.”

Activities see families partnered 1:1 with an artist to share sensory experiences, explore materials, making, and movement in a space which has been transformed to meet their interests and needs.

MK Gallery said the warm welcome and playful activity on offer means that every session is packed full of laughter, discovery and wonder for all involved.

Adding that one of the most notable benefits of its programme is the opportunities for social interaction between the families and artists involved.

Bethany Mitchell, MK Gallery’s curator of inclusion said:

“We look forward to growing this important work with and for our community while supporting the learning of peers to ensure the greatest impact on inclusive practices regionally and nationally.”

The funding will also enable the Gallery to develop new activities for older children and young people with complex needs to explore their creative skills independently. Activities will include supported studio sessions, co-producer opportunities, and hosting events in MK Gallery’s Skyroom.

Ian Revell, ceo of MK Community Foundation, said:

“The Community Foundation was impressed with the work achieved to date and pleased to fund the expansion of this project to include other young people with neurodiverse needs.”

Yemisi Turner-Blake, grants manager, Paul Hamlyn Foundation (PHF), said:

“PHF is pleased to support the development of the programme which will support more strategic and longer-term change for participants, organisations and the sector.”

For more information contact MK Gallery.

Inclusive Practice in the Arts Image: MK Gallery