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Circus for Life
Start date: Jan 14, 2015, End date: Aug 13, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Circus Central is community circus and charity based in Newcastle upon Tyne. We work with a range of delivery partners in the fields of youth work, cultural services, arts, education and health/wellbeing. Our regular activities include teaching circus skills to young people; creating artistic programmes for cultural institutions and organisations; developing artistic projects that engage local communities. We receive very little subsidised support to run our activities and currently survive off a mixture of commercial work and user-pays activities. We rely heavily on voluntary contributions of time and energy in developing and delivering our projects. The objective of this project is to host a single EVS student within our organisation for 6 months in order to help develop capacity and continue with the community services that we provide. This volunteer will help us deliver our charitable objectives by shadowing professional and voluntary contributors to our programme. She will be an assistant teacher on schools outreach visits; will become a participant mentor to the youth circus programme that we manage for young children; she will shadow performance projects; provide personal assistance to the managing director, as well as other tasks. Through her participation, she will help develop the capacity within the organisation. She has been selected as a participant due to her background involvement in a youth circus in Holland, and her desire to continue developing circus skills as a participant and tutor. By basing with our community circus she will be mentored to develop a greater understanding of the artforms involved, plus she will get valuable lessons in teaching, leadership, business studies, entrepreneurism and arts administration. Over the course of the six month visit, will develop her own capacity and skills in which to take on greater autonomy in these shadowing roles. She shall be integrated into the core of the organisation through fun, sociable, activities that challenge her to step forward. Through weekly meetings and regular evaluation/reflection exercises, her development within our programme will be assessed, and future targets shall be set accordingly. Gradually she will be given roles that see her take a greater level of responsibility, but always with support and assistance provided. Our long term benefit of this project will be a greater capacity for some key staff members. This capacity will be directed towards moving the aims and objectives of our charity forward. We hope that having a full-time volunteer will show our local participants the value of volunteering on a European or local project, and that they will see that a fulfilling life experience can be had through such a project. We hope that this will result in a greater appreciation for volunteering and a greater understanding of the importance that it can hold at a local level. We expect that an added outcome will be the understanding of how we as an organisation work better with volunteers, and how we can better integrate the energy and commitment of young people into our systems and ideologies.

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