Project information

Empowering Women: Creative Residency

Cardboard Citizens has over 25 years’ experience of working with homeless and vulnerable people. We will use our unique methodology to create a safe, single-sex space for homeless and vulnerable women to explore their issues and explore ways to overcome them.

Planning & delivery will take up to 8 months, to begin in 2018

Charity information: Cardboard Citizens

Cardboard Citizens logo
  • Need


    Women make up 26% of homeless service clients and are likely to have greater levels of mental illness due to physical & sexual abuse (Crisis, 2016), causing body shaming thoughts (NEDA, 2015), low self-esteem and self-worth. Services working with this group 'should incorporate features such as women-only spaces and peer support' (St Mungos, 2014). Through this project we aim to develop work with and for vulnerable women, to encourage, empower and support them to move on to more positive futures.


    The arts can ‘provide a positive experience that encourages the construction of new identities, routines & roles’ (Thompson et al., 2011). However, despite evidence the arts can help break the homeless cycle, homeless services report only 31% of clients can access meaningful activities including the arts (Homeless Monitor, 2017). We will support women in finding new ways to problem-solve, empower them to make changes in their lives & provide them with new skills & qualifications to progress.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Improve the lives of women who have been affected by homelessness (past, present, or at-risk)


    » Deliver outreach workshops to recruit Residency participants from a range of settings, enabling participants to develop new support networks
    » Deliver an intensive Creative Residency that equips the women with new & alternative methods to overcome trauma & issues affecting their progression
    » Encourage Residency participants to explore their issues together and develop a new short piece of theatre that raises awareness of these issues
    » Support participants through offering 1:1 Information, Advice and Guidance sessions alongside Creative Residency to address external issues faced

    Engage 50+ women through outreach workshops and an intensive week-long Creative Residency, and support them through delivering over 20 1:1 Information, Advice and Guidance sessions

    Aim 2

    Make CC’s programme more accessible, relevant and appealing to the women it seeks to engage


    » We will hold consultation sessions to establish how best to support women’s participation, including their perceived barriers to participation
    » Where possible we will put into place new systems that open up access to our year-round workshop and training programme to these vulnerable women

    Engage 20 vulnerable women in consultations around how to make CC’s programme more accessible to them, both with existing female CC Members and new Residency participants

    Aim 3

    Ensure that participants develop skills and qualifications to help them progress in their lives


    » Participants can work towards a PEARL qualification (Personal, Employability, Achievement & Reflection for Learning), recognising skills acquisition
    » Participants will be advised on how to use their new qualification and training to build their CVs, as a springboard for their progression
    » We anticipate participants will achieve improved confidence and wellbeing and develop transferable skills including time management and communication
    » Through CC’s networks, provide progression and referral pathways for participants into further education, training or employment

    10+ Residency participants achieve PEARL qualifications and report improved wellbeing and the development of skills including communication and time management

    Aim 4

    Raise awareness of the issues relating to female homelessness


    » Create a workshop space through the Residency for women where they are comfortable to explore the obstacles that feel most pertinent to them
    » Gather a list of desired legislative changes that would support women facing the issues raised across the project, suggested by the participants
    » Present local decision-makers with a list of the suggestions, supporting the participants in making their stories heard

    20+ legislative suggestions collected & at least 5 most popular delivered to local decision-makers; collected through workshops, Residency & Residency sharing audiences

    Aim 5

    Develop new partnerships for Cardboard Citizens


    » Through delivering ‘women-only’ work, we anticipate new partnerships developing to support this group into further education, training or employment

    Deliver outreach workshops in at least 2 women-only settings that are new relationships for CC (i.e. refuges, hostels) and invite staff from those settings to Residency sharing

  • Impact


    - CC will be able to develop more regular women-specific work to offer during the year, developed with its intended participants’ input
    - The project supports participants in developing life-long skills and qualifications, and once individuals become Members of Cardboard Citizens, they can access our programme and support across their lifetime
    - CC will have developed new partnerships through the project, who can support this work in the future – referral, outreach and progression partners


    Our ability to achieve project outcomes is inextricably linked to external factors faced by those we work with, such as benefit, health and housing issues. These challenges are out of our control, but through support sessions and referral links with appropriate agencies, CC hopes to support those wanting to engage in our work overcome external barriers to participation and enable their continued engagement and progression.


    Donors will receive an initial thank you email once the campaign ends, a mid-way point update and a post-project update. This will be in the form of email, allowing for richer content such as photographs and videos (if permission is obtained from participants).

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £12,929

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      Amount Heading Description
      £1,000 Project Management Including CC Associate Director & Artistic Director
      £4,572 Facilitators & PastoralSupport Lead Facilitator & CC Workshop Assistant Fees & CC Staff Pastoral support in sessions & IAGs
      £560 Facilitator Subsistence Lead Facilitator & CC Workshop Ass't Subsistence
      £2,250 Qualification PEARL Qualification for 15 Participants
      £1,325 Participant Expenses All Participant Travel and Subsistence Expenses
      £700 Documentary & Materials Video Documentary, Evaluation & project materials
      £500 Venue Venue hire for Residency sessions
      £2,022 Organisational Costs I.e. Rent, Insurance, Utilities
  • Background


    CC HQ is in Whitechapel, Tower Hamlets and recruits individuals from across London through a large network of referral and outreach partners, with existing Members also advocating for our work among peers. Tower Hamlets is the most deprived London borough on three of five summary measures (Tower Hamlets Council, 2015). The largest ethnic group is Bengali, with the largest number of Bengali speakers in England living here – over one third of residents (35%) use a main language other than English.


    Women who have been affected by homelessness (in the past, present or at-risk in future) including women who:
    - Are currently classed as homeless (i.e. sofa-surfing, living in a hostel, refuge, temporary accommodation or street homeless)
    - Have children in their care (as many as 130k children are living in homes with a high risk of domestic abuse, and 62% of children living with this kind of violence are directly harmed themselves (Inside Government 2017))
    - Have fled domestic violence or abuse

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    CC has considerable experience working with the homeless & vulnerable, having been founded in the rough sleepers’ encampment of ‘Cardboard City’ over 25 years ago. We use creative participation to engage those excluded from society and the stage to drive change and challenge perceptions. CC offers a unique approach, using theatre as a tool for liberation and empowerment to people in all stations of life, while enabling individuals' continued engagement through wraparound, one-to-one support.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Cardboard Citizens Facilitators

    CC seeks to employ facilitators with homeless experience where possible to ensure relevance to participants

    Cardboard Citizens' Programme Team

    Our highly trained team will provide ongoing pastoral support to participants, enabling them to overcome external issues and continue participation

“I enjoyed being in a woman-identified space. It made me feel braver and more able to experiment”

Previous Cardboard Citizens Women-Only Workshop Participant