Arts Council and Unlimited help Creative Homes unlock doors to investment

by Creative Homes

Creative Director Sally-Anne Donaldson reflects on creative homes journey so far.

Since 2014 Creative Homes has secured £180k+ towards the design, implementation and impact measurement of our service, with support and guidance from key organisations such as Design Council, Guys and St Thomas Charity, New Economics Foundation, Narrativ as well as 8 housing organisations, 15 health and 10 cultural settings.

In parallel our Creative Director, Sally-Anne Donaldson, has attracted social entrepreneurial and development support from School of Social Entrepreneurs, Unlimited and Arts Council, which has been instrumental to the building of our service.

One of the main successes of Creative Homes is its market positioning. It sits comfortably as a short-term early intervention service that satisfies the concurrent needs of our commissioning partners in housing, health and cultural sectors.

For Housing we support family households to build resilience, skills and confidence at home and create pathways to further support, in-house and locally. For Health we support families to improve healthy rhythm and routine to their family day, reducing daily stress and building adult capabilities.

For the Cultural sector we are building an evidence base for the health and economical impact of creative play and quality arts introduced early into family life and home. For both local and national cultural services we are encouraging cross-sector communication and positively questioning access and targeted programming.

For families we are increasing awareness, confidence and skill in creative arts and confidence in taking part in local activity and building a sense of cultural entitlement. We are raising the profile of the professional artist role in early intervention service and building an evidence base that proves the imperative role of the arts in young families lives, giving children the best start in life.

Click to download our Impact Report Summary 2015.

Unlocking the doors to investment is not an easy task.

Attracting cultural commissioning from the Housing and Health sectors is a challenging and long-term sale every time. Arts-led organisations and businesses still struggle to build an evidence base that is considered scientific and robust enough to compete with public health interventions and be taken seriously enough by Clinical Commissioning Groups. The other competitive arena is that of the 3rd sector – social enterprise – where arts-based businesses compete for proving social worth and positioning against some really successful, cost-effective solutions to social issues. Statutory organisations have the will to invest in the 3rd sector as an efficient solution to their services but very few will take the risk in that solution being arts-based.

As an arts-based social enterprise we’ve benefitted greatly from the support of organisations like the Arts Council and Unlimited in the development of our service.

Unlimited have been instrumental in supporting and guiding Creative Homes through financial structuring, a robust communications plan, pitching and access to key investors. Key mentors including Steve Coles from Intentionality have helped us to expand our Theory of Change and produce our first short impact report. Darshan Sanghrajka and his team from SuperBeing Labs helped shape our customer journey, brand experience and communication strategy. Through Unlimited we have received expert support and advice. From various corporate organisations. We have benefitted from being selected for Prophet’s worldwide brand and marketing consultancy informing our website redesign and communications strategy. We have benefitted from Weil,Gotshal & Manges legal support surgeries and PA Consulting investment readiness and funding surgery.

The Arts Council (Grants for the Arts) has support a three strand research and development phase where we have:

1) piloted a training programme for 20 new Creative Homes artists

2) improved and expanded the resources and artist delivery for our home experiences working with our key team of composers, movement artists, musicians, storytellers and visual designers

3) piloted “ A Visit from the Tooth Fairy” with a nursery for 2016 roll out

4) collaborated with key organisations Greenwich Co-operative Development Agency and Lewisham Speech and Language Team to build artist capacity to deliver, advise and signpost families as well as adapt resources to a wide range of ages and abilities including special needs.

In March 2016 we launched our new website and impact report and this July we launch a partnership play day in Newham, bringing together key organisations across Newham from Housing, Health and Culture, sharing our learning from working with high need families over the last two years and asking some big questions that only joined up thinking between sectors can really tackle. We hope the outcome of these discussion and design sessions will encourage better understanding across sectors of the real needs and barriers our families face when wanting to access the quality homes, health and culture they are all entitled to. Contact if you would like to participate in this discussion.

If you would like to find out more about our facilitation sessions for cross-sector partnerships anywhere in the UK please contact

If you would like to find out more about our Creative Homes programme and how to access our service please visit or email directly.

Leave a Reply

Share this Article

Back to blog

Sign up to receive our quarterly newsletter