Arts and Kindness Mentoring Programme

Supporting creative pioneers in Kent

I valued being able to take a step back from the day to day working life and appreciate and reflect on all of the things I have achieved in the past 12 months. It was a day that I will always treasure.  2017/18 Participant

This is a unique 6-month personal and professional development programme supporting individuals living or working in Kent to make a positive difference in their communities through creativity.

Through our work across the community and cultural sectors we have met many individuals making a difference within their organisations, their schools and their neighbourhoods.  Many people have expressed a need to:-

  •  share ideas, hopes and fears
  • connect with ‘like-minded’ individuals
  • learn from more experienced colleagues
  •  take time to step back, to reappraise and reflect.

The programme aims to meet these needs, providing a safe environment for sharing and critical thinking. Participants are nurtured and supported, which in turn builds the creative and social potential of Kent. Following nominations and informal interviews, we launched our first pilot scheme in September 2017. The nine individuals include a filmmaker, an artist and environmentalist, an assistant headteacher, a community worker, an artist working in community settings, an art teacher, a neighbourhood organiser, a record producer/singer songwriter and youth worker and a producer.

What happens?

We bring together the participants from across Kent for three Away-Days in Canterbury over the course of a 6-month period. Each participant is assigned with an experienced mentor who they meet throughout the duration of the programme, and who supports their personal and professional goals. These goals feed into the development of a new initiative devised by participants that benefits the wider community, often setting in motion a new approach. Participants become part of People United’s community of practice, benefitting from ongoing support, resources and a network of peers.

The programme is based on People United’s philosophy and research that the arts have a unique potential to grow the conditions that lead to kindness, civic participation and social cohesion.

I appreciated the variety of skills and experiences in the room, yet each member seemed to have a shared commitment to community which was really exciting.  2017/18 Participant

The 2018/2019 Arts and Kindness Mentoring Programme is now open for nominations. We do not accept direct applications for the scheme but through nominations. If you know anyone who would benefit from this scheme, please contact us  with brief details about yourself and who you are nominating and why. Participants will be based or delivering work in Kent, be committed to creative or arts practice that has a social benefit (this might be through delivering, organising or inspiring), and have a minimum of 3 years’ experience in developing work that helps others. The scheme has very limited spaces and we will take forward nominations based on securing a cohort mix of background, geographical location and role.

Please get in touch to find out more

The defining characteristics of our guidance is our emphasis on starting with the positive, taking time to reflect and listen, being open and flexible, not pretending we know all the answers and being enthusiastic for imaginative change. These are typically led by Founder Associate Tom Andrews, Head of Creative Programmes Sarah Fox or one of our other associates (depending on your needs and requirements).

Whilst much of our advice is free, there is a charge for our consultancy work, such as our away days or evaluation.  If you would like to find out more, we’d be really happy to talk things through with you informally please contact us.