A little bit of Heart n Soul helps young south Londoners get creative

An arts organisation in south London has received new funding for a scheme which harnesses the creative talents of young people with learning disabilities.

Deptford-based Heart n Soul has received £60,000 from City Bridge Trust – the City of London Corporation’s charity funder – for its Expandable project.

The project features one-to-one and group sessions enabling young people to develop new skills, make new music and art and hone their performance techniques.

It also includes regular club nights giving attendees the chance to perform and socialise together, which moved online during the pandemic.

City Bridge Trust Chairman Giles Shilson said:

“For over 35 years, Heart n Soul has been giving young people with learning disabilities opportunities to explore their creativity, learn new skills and make new friends.

“Like so many charities, during the Covid crisis it has provided a lifeline for many people, and this funding will help it to continue this vital work through the pandemic and beyond.”

Based at The Albany arts centre, in Deptford, Heart n Soul was founded in 1985 with the aim of giving people with learning disabilities a safe place to be themselves.

Through the project, participants present a monthly radio show on online community station Soho Radio, while one member, Danielle, recently launched her second EP, Lovesheart, at the charity’s Squidz Club night.

Heart n Soul Taking Part Assistant Ono Dafedjaiye said:

“Getting involved with Heart n Soul helps people to make new friends and try new things so they don’t feel lonely – for some it’s the only thing they get to be involved with.

“During the coronavirus, people have been feeling more isolated and it’s affected their mental health. This project is about giving people the chance to stay connected with their friends and to build their confidence and skills.”

More information on Heart n Soul is available online at www.heartnsoul.co.uk

Case study

Sebastian, 17, from Bromley, has been attending Heart n Soul since 2018.

He said: “If you ever wanted to do art or singing, Heart n Soul is the best place.

You can share your creativity and ideas and make your ideas bigger than you’ve ever imagined.

“I feel like I’ve changed as a musician and I feel more accepted now and more determined. I can put my own creativity into it and make my own music. We’re still continuing to show our creativity during Covid-19, so nothing can really stop us.”

Picture captions

HnS 1 – Paul at the mic as part of Do Your Own Thing, a regular series of creative sessions

HnS 2 – Sebastian performing at Do Your Own Thing

HnS 3 – Danielle launched her second EP at the charity’s Squidz Club night

HnS 4 – Lola performs at Do Your Own Thing

HnS 5 – Squidz Club

Notes to editors

The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile, dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK – www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

The City Corporation is the sole trustee of Bridge Houses Estates, founded in 1097 to maintain London Bridge, and Members of its Court of Common Council form the Bridge House Estates Board.

Bridge House Estates is responsible for maintaining Tower, London, Southwark, Millennium and Blackfriars Bridges, and its charity funding arm City Bridge Trust – founded in 1995 – gives out over £25 million a year to good causes across the capital – www.citybridgetrust.org.uk

Tim Fletcher | Media officer – public services

City of London Corporation

07738 862229 | tim.fletcher@cityoflondon.gov.uk