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Project information

Breaking the Barriers

Citz offers a year-round programme of arts training, performances, qualifications & support for homeless and at-risk Londoners; empowering them to make progress in their lives. Through reducing potential barriers, we can ensure access for those who otherwise would not be able to attend and benefit.

January 2019 - December 2019

Charity information: Cardboard Citizens

Cardboard Citizens logo
  • Need


    Homeless people face multiple barriers to arts participation including economic, social and health.

    Despite evidence that the arts can play a powerful part in breaking the homelessness cycle, the Homelessness Monitor England (2016) found only 31% of homelessness services reported their clients engaging in ‘meaningful activities’ (including sports and arts).


    After engaging with the arts, it is reported that 82% of people in deprived communities enjoy greater wellbeing (Creative Health, 2017).

    By providing travel expenses and refreshments (where necessary) at our activities, and access to professional arts performances, we can help to reduce barriers to the arts for homeless and at-risk people, increasing access for those otherwise unable to attend and benefit.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Open up access to Cardboard Citz's year-round programme offering training, support & qualifications


    » Provide travel expenses to participants to open up access to our programme of activities and events across the year
    » Provide refreshments at particular Cardboard Citizens events over the year to reduce financial implications for participants

    What success will look like

    Up to 150 individuals will access workshops, events, support sessions or performances at our HQ

    Aim 2

    Empower homeless and vulnerable individuals to make positive progress in their lives


    » Provide discretionary hardship payments where necessary to Members in crisis or with urgent need (i.e. to buy clothes to attend interviews etc.)
    » Provide travel expenses to participants to enable and ensure access to our programme of training, support and qualifications

    What success will look like

    Up to 30 will enter volunteering, employment or further training over the year

    Aim 3

    Break down barriers to theatre and the arts for homeless and vulnerable people


    » Work with our partners to secure in-kind and low-cost theatre and arts tickets for our Members
    » Provide travel expenses for Members to attend theatre and arts performances across London

    What success will look like

    Up to 30 will attend a theatre or arts performance beyond our HQ

  • Impact


    Through a free, year-round programme of workshops, masterclasses, qualifications and training – ranging from playwriting and performance skills to CV-writing and money management – we support homeless and vulnerable people (aged 16+) in gaining the confidence, skills and qualifications they need to move forwards in their lives into more positive futures.

    Attending external performances will also help to inspire longer-term interest in the arts among Members, and increase wellbeing.


    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, Cardboard Citizens 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 a thank you email after the campaign ends, a mid-way update and a post-project update. This will be via email, allowing for richer content such as photographs and videos (if permission is obtained from participants). Pledge and Champion funders will receive thank you letters.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £10,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £10,000 Breaking the Barriers Travel expenses, discretionary hardship payments, refreshments and tickets for Members over 1year
  • Background


    The majority of funding raised will support activities at our HQ in Whitechapel, Tower Hamlets (TH). It may also support individuals attending outreach workshops and performances across London.

    TH is the most deprived London borough on three of five summary measures (TH Council, 2015). The Financial Capability review, 2010, also found that the majority of local areas have low levels of financial capability and high levels of financial vulnerability among residents (3x higher than average).


    Homelessness is caused by ‘a complex interplay between a person's individual circumstances and adverse 'structural' factors outside their control’ (Shelter 2016). We work with those affected by or at risk of homelessness, from ex-offenders, refugees and the vulnerably housed to young people not in education, employment or training and the LGBTQ community; we successfully target society’s most isolated.

    This funding will support the wider budget for our Workshops Programme and Member activities.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Citz has considerable experience working with the homeless and vulnerable, having been founded in the rough sleepers’ encampment of London’s ‘Cardboard City’ over 26 years ago. We use creative participation to engage those excluded from society, and the stage as a vehicle to drive change and challenge perceptions.

    We work intensively with Members to deepen engagement and empower those affected by or at-risk of homelessness to achieve real, lasting change, and to progress away from homelessness

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Michael Chandler

    Programme Director: Oversees Cardboard Citizens' programme of engagement, shaping the programme and key partnerships at a strategic level

    Flora Newbigin

    Programme Delivery Manager: Oversees management of all Member activity across each year, including content, structure and delivery

    Matt Lucas

    Engagement Manager: oversees Member support and our one-to-one Information, Advice and Guidance service


£100 could help 20 people attend a training session or workshop at our HQ

If you’d asked me where I’d be at 18 months ago, having a job was a distant dream, doing something to help others, when I couldn’t even help myself, unimaginable. But here I am, a ward visitor in a mental health hospital, helping people put their lives back together. Thank you Cardboard Citizens

CC Workshops Programme participant