[Picture courtesy of Dance United]

Claremont has been working for some time with the Arts Alliance – an umbrella organisation for arts charities working in prisons and with offenders, be it with dance, theatre, poetry, painting, etc.

These are tough times for the arts, tough times for charities generally.  As budgets are squeezed, charities are under pressure more than ever to prove their value.

The arts are naturally brilliant at winning over people’s hearts to the value of what they do.

It is not uncommon to hear accounts of even the most sceptical critics of the arts undergoing a personal transformation once they have been in person to see projects in action for themselves – ‘taken to the frontline’ – and absorbed the many stories of triumph over adversity.

But the arts are not always so good at winning over people’s minds to the value of what they do.  Especially when it comes to winning over the bean counters, who will probably never be ‘taken to the frontline’ and will only be concerned with the numbers.

And in these tough economic times its the bean counters who hold all the beans.

Responding to this, the Arts Alliance commissioned an economic analysis of the value of arts organisations working in the criminal justice sector, working with an organisation called New Philanthropy Capital – a formidable (and super friendly) think tank made up of economists and brainy types.

The result is ‘Unlocking Value‘ – a heavyweight report that looks at the impact of three arts charities working in different ways in prisons and with ex offenders: Only Connect, Unitas and Clean Break.

Claremont launched the report to the media yesterday, generating some serious coverage including the Times, Evening Standard, Huffington Post, Third Sector, interviews on a dozen or so BBC radio stations, as well as this superb piece on the 1pm BBC One TV News:


Claremont was also deployed at a launch event last night at the Royal Festival Hall to do social reporting – live video, blogging and tweeting from the event.  We even managed to get a few minutes with Lord Ian Blair, former Chief of the Met, as well as Vince, an-offender who’d turned his life around and who spoke eloquently at the event.

We love this kind of work.  A great cause.  A meaningful and highly considered approach to integrated campaigning.  A chance to get some brilliant results that make a difference to people’s lives.  For me, this is what Claremont is all about.