AN ARTS education company which helps to foster healthy relationships and debunk myths around domestic violence is looking to create new work for artists following a £40,000 funding package from the Arts Council.

Bishop Auckland-based Changing Relations delivers education and training to schools, charities and businesses and uses the arts to help teachers and employers identify signs of abuse; gives voice to those affected by it and breaks down gender barriers.

The social enterprise organisation recently carried out a powerful social media campaign entitled #notallsafeathome to highlight the plight of victims of domestic abuse who were locked down with their abusers. It shared some of its content for free online, highlighting the unheard voices of domestic abuse such as men and older people.

While many arts organisations have suffered greatly as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Lisa Charlotte Davis, managing director of Changing Relations, said the Arts Council investment had enabled the company to survive the past four months and to create and share its original work.

Said Lisa: “This money has allowed us to work on our organisational development and to help secure our future so we can create more work for artists in the North East and beyond. We’re very grateful that this funding has meant we can survive the crippling effects the arts industry is facing as a result of the pandemic.”

The funding has enabled North Shields-based Helix Arts to help with developmental support; Stockton Arc’s artistic director, Annabel Turpin, to help with a new artistic policy, while Lindsay Parker of Durham-based Stride Pr, has helped create a communications strategy.

Annabel said: “I was really keen to lend my support to Changing Relations, as a company that uses arts activity to help address some of the really important issues society faces. It’s great that they’re placing art and artists at the heart of their work, while staying true to their core mission.”

Part of the Arts Council funding will also go towards the organisation’s next project, to create a piece of work entitled A Child’s View. It will capture the voices of young people who witness domestic violence in their homes; the support they’d find helpful and what they need to hear from adults to help them understand what they’re experiencing.

Polly Turner, artistic director at Changing Relations, said. “We’re looking to commission a writer committed to participatory/socially engaged practice to collaborate on A Child’s View. It will tell the story of domestic abuse from the perspective of young people living through it, a situation that has been exacerbated by lockdown as it has reduced children’s options for respite among friends and removed potential ways they can let adults, such as teachers, know what they’re suffering.”