Element – art projects with care leavers

Our stories

"We were exceptionally grateful for the money raised – enough for us to run a holiday project with 10 children in care."

- Elo Acland, Director and Cofounder of Element

Element was one of 3 groups who pitched at Hackney Giving Live at Capco in June 2017. With the raised money Element run art projects for young people in care and care leavers. We caught up with Elo Acland, Director and Cofounder, to see how things are going.

What do you do?

Element runs arts projects that explore purpose, motivation and creativity with care leavers. We use spoken word, photography, painting, crafting, creative writing and performance art as tools for self-expression and self-discovery. Even if a young person has never picked up a paintbrush or performed a line of poetry before giving it a go can unlock a mountain of creativity.

Who do you work with?

We run art projects for young people who are in or leaving care. Our projects focus on emotional wellbeing. One of the main aims is to get young people’s confidence higher, raise their self-esteem and improve their social and communications skills by working in a group. And as well as that we hope they will come out of the projects with some tools and techniques for feeling more fulfilled, keeping motivated and staying positive.

How do you define success?

A lot of the time, ‘success’ is either measured in material things or in career status. We think success is a lot broader than that. It’s about feeling confident in yourself and confident in your abilities. It’s about finding your unique purpose and applying it in your everyday life. If you feel good, you are automatically making a success of things.

What do you think about Hackney Giving and your experience with live crowdfunding?

Presenting and crowdfunding live was a fantastic opportunity to practice articulating (in just 6 minutes!) what Element’s mission is, and why we are so passionate about our projects with care leavers. Having such a supportive audience is a huge bonus, and it was great to make some new connections after the pitch. We were also exceptionally grateful for the money raised – enough for us to run a holiday project with 10 children in care.

What events and workshops have you done recently and what are your plans for the future?

We finished off the year with our latest exhibition at the V&A Museum. This year we’ve worked with 63 incredible young people across Hackney, Islington, Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea. Our Element participants have gone on to join national art collectives, go to university, gain their first employment – and even work in government! We have yet to run our project in Hackney that we raised funds for through Hackney Giving but that looks set to happen in the first half of next year.

We will be catching up with Element again later in the year to see how the Hackney Giving holiday project has gone.

To learn more about Hackney Giving and supporting grassroots charities visit: www.hackneygiving.org.uk

Donate online: http://hackneygiving.org.uk/get-involved/donate/