Community Projects

Our Community Projects focus on communities and people who face challenges, for various reasons. They are completely bespoke and very targeted, developed from years of research and practice. 

You can read more about the various elements of this programme below. 

Helping me find me. A young woman holds a collage in front of her face that reads you can do this.

Community Co-Design

What is Co-Design?  

Co-Design means designing with people rather than for people. Through collaboration and participation, we are working with people in the community, with shared lived experiences and challenges as those who we are aiming to support, to produce creative projects. This gives us the opportunity to take more time to listen closely and find out what people really need from us, and then help them to deliver it. Through this work we want to reach a more diverse range of people in our community and use our skills to make positive change. 


How does it work?  

Together we identify a change people want to make, either for themselves or the wider community, then set up a group of co-designers. A co-designer is a member of the community we are working in and is part of the team throughout the co-design process. We work on an equal footing with co-designers, bringing our creative skills and sometimes jointly commissioning artists to support delivery. This process of designing also provides local people with training opportunities and the chance to build networks to improve their local areas or personal circumstances.  


What changes we want to make? 

For each project the co-designers decide what the impact should be. As a general approach, we want to: 

  • Help more, and a more diverse range of, people to participate in the arts 
  • Find progression routes and training to help people from different backgrounds get into the arts sector 
  • Support and empower people in our community to work together towards a common goal of positive social change using creative projects as a catalyst
  • Work alongside groups of people in our community, using our experiences and skills to bring to life their ideas and address needs they identify or changes they want to see happen 
  • Learn how the approach of Co-Designing Projects, putting people from our community at the heart of decision making could change and improve the way we work across our Participation, Education, Artistic and Inclusion Programmes 
  • Improve the places and spaces that matter to communities to make them safer, turning community places and spaces into environments that foster positive community interaction


What have we learnt so far?  

We have learnt a lot through the co-design process already and are remaining flexible and adaptable in our approach while staying true to The Garage Trust’s vision to change people’s lives through art. No two projects are the same and all work to a different pace. We have seen the value of working in partnership with other organisations in the co-design process. Going forward we want to continue to work closely with more organisations who have in-depth and on-the-ground expertise in the needs of their client groups. We have begun to link our inclusion work much more closely to our co-designed community projects and will continue to develop this connection so that we can deepen our impact. 


Foundations Courses

Foundations are free 10-week courses (one hour a week) in drama, creative movement or music, for young people who are referred to us because they are facing challenges. Currently we run this for young people aged 12-18 years. The sessions use a variety of games and activities in a fun and friendly environment, building to a place where the young people can gently explore creating some material. The focus of the sessions is to help build confidence, increase self-esteem and raise aspirations. 

The courses aim to give young people both the personal and practical skills to then progress onto our Big Breaks scheme, which entitles them to a year’s place on our class programme. 

We welcome referrals into this programme for young people who may benefit. We prefer for these referrals to come from an organisation, school, or professional working with that young person – we have found that this multi-agency approach tends to bring about the best results. If you are working with a young person who you think would benefit from this programme, please do send a referral in on the form below. 

Garage dance lessons July 2019 -207


The Workshop is an experienced arts provider. We work regularly in the community on bespoke projects in partnership with other organisations, charities or services. Partners can ‘buy in’ one of our existing programmes, or together we can design something new. 

Our outreach work is designed to broaden the people we work with, and is often targeted towards those who, for whatever reason, find it more difficult to engage. Activities are designed to enthuse and excite by giving people a taste for participating in creative activity whilst developing transferable skills.  

Activities are normally based around dance, drama and music. We contract professional artists and tutors, complete risk assessments, gather evaluation and feedback information when we are finished. We can even embed nationally recognised Arts Award accreditation into projects.  

We’ve worked with a range of different groups, including: West Norfolk Young Carers, Kings Lynn Academy, Norfolk and Suffolk Libraries, MAP, Pandora Project women’s refuge and the College of West Anglia. 

Questions we ask when assessing whether to take on new outreach projects are: 

  • Would this activity lead to longer term engagement (class programme, holiday activity, foundation programmes, seeing a show, education, staffing, volunteering etc.) from the people who participate? 
  • Would this activity lead to boosting the visibility of a group of people in our community who are often overlooked? 
  • Would this activity lead to us strengthening relationships with partner organisations that could have mutual benefits? 
  • Would this activity enable us to learn, grow or share practice that will be of benefit going forward? 
  • Does this activity promote social mobility? 


If you have a project that you think could fulfil some or all of these priorities, we’d love to hear from you. 


Examples of what we are offer (depending on tutor availability) are: 

  • Ballet 
  • Band Skills 
  • Contemporary Dance 
  • Choir 
  • Drama 
  • Musical Theatre 
  • Percussion 
  • Song Writing 
  • Street Dance 

Contactinfo@theworkshop.org.ukto discuss your ideas.