Organisation:Galway Community CircusCategory:Medium OrganisationsCharity Reg no. :20064747, CHY174201. Tell us about the issue(s) this organisation is tackling and why it's important
2. How does your organisation go about tackling these issues?
- Why was the organisation set up? What is it trying to change or do? Why is it important to do this? Galway Community Circus was created to offer children and young people a non-competitive, physical and creative activity in a safe and welcoming space. Our philosophy is circus for all, and we help disadvantaged, at-risk and vulnerable people develop self-confidence and social skills, using the circus arts as a tool to tap into strengths and hidden talents. We want children and young people to believe that they can achieve extraordinary things, have improved mental and physical wellbeing, improved social, personal and life skills, become more active citizens and be better prepared to succeed in their chosen path as adults. Circus is a support network that meets the educational and psychological needs of communities and creates a more inclusive, resilient and sustainable society.
3. Tell us about a case where the organisation has made a positive difference.
- Explain your organisation's approach to solving the issues you identified in your previous answer. If it has had to adapt its activities in response to COVID-19, how did it do this? Research shows that circus has tangible social, psychological and physical benefits. By bringing circus to our community, we are giving opportunities to young people to live their best life by supporting their physical, mental and social wellbeing. We provide high-quality youth-centred programmes based on active and voluntary participation. We believe that active participation is the most powerful way to create lasting change. We actively reach out to the most vulnerable young people and reduce and/or remove barriers to their participation as we believe access to arts and culture is a basic human right and physical and mental wellbeing is critical to creating healthy communities. In response to COVID-19, we offered free online classes and reimagined our programmes to be delivered online.
4. What has the overall impact of this work been and how do you measure it?
- This is your chance to talk about impact in qualitative terms. Provide a case study to illustrate the impact of the organisation’s work. We will accept anonymous case studies if you need to protect the identity of a service user or individuals under 18 years of age. You can include a quote or endorsement if you wish.In 2019 we began a project in partnership with Arts Alive, a community-based arts programme for children, to train their students in circus skills. Arts Alive planned to create a performance inspired by circus. In the initial few weeks of training, the team observed that their students faced some fears. Some students who were challenged their whole lives with sensory impairments for the first time felt inspired and comfortable enough in the safe and supportive environment GCC created to overcome those fears. Some overcame their fear of heights – one performed on stage walking across a tightrope; another student mastered the art of performing aerial. After exploring the circus arts, each student chose a circus skill that was challenging but that resonated with them, all unique to each individual. The Arts Alive team observed the students growing into different parts of themselves and appearing to be more confident. They observed students wanting to try out new things in the community and an openness and flexibility to explore courses, training and job opportunities outside of the Arts Alive programme. The performance was a success and the students were proud of themselves and what they had achieved. “Our students absolutely fell in love with the art of circus and everyone at GCC. They opened a door for our students into the Galway arts community, and we will return to GCC every year as it is the most important relationship that we have in our community.” – The Arts Alive team
5. What makes your organisation special?
- How would you describe the overall impact of your organisation’s work? What measures do you use to know if you have been successful at achieving your goals? How do you know what to improve or change in your work? Please include as much evidence as possible to demonstrate your impact. Our measures of success include: seeing a proven increase in the physical and creative capacity, social responsibility and readiness skills of young people; delivering programmes which are in line with best practice and standards in youth art practice, social inclusion and experiential learning; and evidence of growth in social impact, art form development, employment and organisational capacity. Monitoring, evaluation and impact measurement are built into Galway Community Circus' annual programming. This includes verbal, physical and written evaluation methods that demonstrate the success of the programme against objectives set at the start of each year. This data helps us to determine changes in programme, effectiveness, knowledge and competences within our team as well as impact and views amongst participants and target groups. To date in 2021 Galway Community Circus has impacted the lives of 8817 participants who have engaged in our services, 8074 of which participated free of charge. We believe that the circus arts can be used as an effective tool to engage, support and develop an individual’s resilience and mental and physical wellbeing while supporting social growth and global citizenship. This has been shown to be true through the development of our long-term partnerships in organisations such as Galway Autism Partnership, Rehab Care, Arts Alive, Direct Provision and Galway Traveller Movement.
6. How can the public support your work?
- What is the organisation’s unique selling-point? What makes the organisation different from others working in the same field/area?We are Ireland’s flagship organisation for youth and social circus, and our programmes are delivered by professional Irish and international artists. We are unique in that we use evidence-based programmes that combine both physical and creative activities designed to build readiness skills and support the wellbeing of young people. Circus itself is also unique to other art forms in that it places more of an emphasis on personal growth, community and positivity. It promotes team building but is also non-competitive and encourages safe risk-taking. It is body positive and accessible to everyone regardless of age, ability or background. Circus offers something for everyone.
7. Describe how your organisation is transparent and accountable
- Do you need volunteers? Do you fundraise? Can the public share your story? Give them a call to action.Galway Community Circus relies on the support of our community. Donations are greatly appreciated and by donating, you are investing in young people and their futures. No donation is too small, and we are always grateful. We involve volunteers in the running of our organisation and in our programmes and welcome and encourage anyone who is interested to get involved at all levels of the Circus and within all appropriate activities. Most importantly, we encourage anyone to take a chance and to come experience the life-changing art of circus with us.
- For example, do you publish your annual accounts online? Are you compliant with the Charities Regulator's Charities Governance Code? Do you use the Charities Regulator’s Fundraising Principles?Galway Community Circus is a company limited by guarantee (CLG) and a registered charity (20064747) governed by a voluntary Board of Directors. Our organisation complies with the Governance Code for the Community, Voluntary and Charitable Sector in Ireland. We are committed to comply with the charity SORP and the principles of good fundraising. Galway Community Circus keeps detailed books and records of accounts and maintains strict financial controls. We comply with the Arts Council of Ireland’s recommended guidelines for financial reporting. The organisation is transparent in its audited financial statements, with the most recent statements available on our website.