OVER 100 young people with additional support needs have pursued creative arts projects thanks to the Access All Arts Fund, which will now continue its work throughout 2022-23.

The fund, which is led by the charity Children in Scotland and delivered through Creative Scotland’s Nurturing Talent Fund: New Routes programme, was established to support young people with disabilities or additional support needs, who have faced major challenges throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. Through its efforts, £68,000 has already been distributed in support of projects including dance, drama, visual art and television.

A report on the first year of the initiative published on 28 April noted: The Access All Arts Fund provided opportunities for children and young people to explore their unique personal interests and passions. It gave them autonomy and agency to develop projects and learn new skills while supporting their wellbeing. In some cases, the fund did help to support career development opportunities but, more generally, it created opportunities for children and young people to overcome barriers and try new creative experiences.”

READ MORE: Douglas Ross accused of 'misogyny' after Karen Adam 'whinge' snipe

The report recommends that in additional rounds of funding, more time and financial resources should be devoted to outreach work and building relationships with organisations supporting specific communities - such as deaf children and children and young people with visual impairment – in order to encourager a wider diversity of applications.

Children in Scotland have recruited four children and young people with a range of additional support needs as for a panel to lead the design of the fund and help direct its future.

The National: National Extra Scottish politics newsletter banner

Panellist Ryan Cuzen said: “Having young people with lived experience of a disability or additional support needs involved in the design of funds, training programmes and opportunities is vital. It shows we are being listening to, included and our ideas and voices are being heard.”

Creative Scotland Youth Arts programme manager Sarah Mcadam also commented: “The high demand for Access All Arts in 2021 showed us the important role that arts and creativity was able to play in the lives of children and young people who were experiencing significant challenges during the pandemic.

“We’re thrilled that through renewed support, this programme will give more children and young people opportunities to lead on decision-making and access the funding they need to bring their creative ideas to life.”