Belfast Community Circus School has launched a brand new strategic plan after receiving funding from both Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Belfast City Council.
Chief Executive of the Belfast Circus School Jenna Hall said: “The funding we have received, initially through the Resilience Programme and currently as an Anchor organisation, has been transformational for us. We are really proud of what the funding has helped us to achieve and our new plan is just the start.
“Over the past three years we have completed evaluations of our programmes, consulted with the children and families who use our service and those who teach and perform for us.
“Everything they told us has led to our bold new vision, mission and six ambitious goals. We even have some new values that define the culture of our School and how we work. We are committed to being curious, playful and persistent, we will always collaborate and put our circus family first.”
Having progressed through the Resilience Programme, a joint initiative between Arts Council Northern Ireland National Lottery Funding and Belfast City Council, in April 2020 Circus School became one of nine arts and heritage organisations across Belfast to be funded as an Anchor organisation. This recognition means that Circus School will play a key role in helping Belfast City Council deliver its cultural strategy, A City Imagining.
Jenna explained that being an Anchor organisation will “mean Circus School can provide more opportunities for both families and professional performers. As we are coming out of Covid19, there is a real need to boost and rebuild the sector and to support young people to thrive.”
The Circus School offers a range of different classes for people of all ages, helping attendees to not only learn new skills in circus, but to also grow in confidence as they are introduced to a new form of expression. In July and August 2021, 313 people registered for classes, generating much needed paid work for 19 local artists. They also delivered around 50 professional performance gigs.
Lord Mayor of Belfast, Kate Nicholl said: “We’re delighted to be supporting Belfast Community Circus School, one of our Core Multi-Annual Grant anchor recipients as they launch their new plan and brand. Helping the arts and culture sector to adapt to change is so important as we move forwards together on our Covid recovery journey, with the sector having such a vital role to play.
“Belfast Community Circus School offers something unique and is an invaluable resource for artists and young people, going hand in hand with our cultural strategy vision to create a culturally vibrant city.”
The new four year plan has been created as a result of feedback from funders, the families the School supports and other partners. The bold new vision, mission and values will expand on the impressive programme of events they have already delivered over the past 35+ years.
“Everything we are doing is about highlighting the success and impact of our work since 1985 and finding ways to expand and deepen it over the years to come” said Jenna, adding: “We found that people were saying things such as, they didn’t know Belfast Circus had anything to do with professional performance artists, our new plan will help us to no longer be one of Belfast’s best kept secrets.”
The next milestone for the School is the launch of its new brand and name, which will be released on the 30th November.
To find out more about Belfast Community Circus School, go to belfastcircus.org