The Accumulate charity is London’s Art school for the Homeless. It uses creativity to enrich and elevate the lives of young people that are homeless and living in hostels and temporary accommodation. Our workshops cover photography, fashion, sculpture, radio, ceramics, creative writing, textile printing, fashion and illustration and are run in collaboration with major art and cultural institutions including Autograph, The Tate Modern, The Barbican, Somerset House, The Photographers’ Gallery, the BBC and The Guardian.
The Accumulate participants often come from difficult, complicated and diverse backgrounds, including abusive relationships, mental health and substance abuse, foster care and prison backgrounds. Through the Accumulate programme they become engaged in something personally rewarding and meaningful, develop their life skills and self-esteem and start to have the ambition to think and plan for a more positive future.
One of our first students on the course, Shaun, is now a support worker in the North London YMCA where he used to stay. Another previous participant Dan started to volunteer for Accumulate and has now become Digital Inclusion Coach at Evolve Housing. Some have entered education or training, got back in touch with family or moved into their own accommodation.
Accumulate also provides scholarships for a small number of participants to progress their creative education and study on the one-year Digital Media and Design course at Ravensbourne University London. This is a life-changing experience that radically transforms a young person’s life and future. So far, 15 people have received Accumulate scholarships and four of these have gone on to study on an undergraduate degree.
What are we crowdfunding for?
We are now fundraising to create The Accumulate Book of Homelessness. This will be the world’s first ever graphic novel created by people affected by homelessness. It will have their drawings, texts, visuals and poems, and will give them ownership and control over who tells the stories of their lives and in what context.
The Book of Homelessness is a major project for Accumulate and we now need to raise money for the creative workshops, materials, tutors, the art direction of the book and its printing, and to pay for the travel costs and lunch for the Accumulate participants. Every copy that we sell will earn money for Accumulate to continue to run its programme and also for the Accumulate participants so that they can start to earn money through their creativity.
We are doing an initial print run of 500 copies of The Accumulate Book of Homelessness and profits from every book sold will be shared with the homeless people who have helped to create it. We now need your help to make this unique project happen and to help change young people’s lives so that they can have a better future. You will be rewarded generously for your donation and all donors will be invited to the Accumulate Book of Homelessness launch on 4th June 2020 at Autograph in Shoreditch.
The Accumulate Book of Homelessness Rewards:
£5 or more: Friendly Donation
Donate a friendly fiver and help make The Book of Homelessness happen. In return you know you have helped to change a young homeless person's life through creativity and we will shout a big Thank You to you in the Accumulate office!
£10 or more: Social Media Shout Out
Get an Accumulate social media shoutout and thank you for your support on our Instagram and Twitter channels. If you choose this reward please email info.accumulate.org.uk with your social media handle.
£20 or more: The Accumulate Zine and a Social Media Shout Out
Receive an Accumulate DECAY zine created by the Accumulate participants and full of thoughts, visuals and words from young people affected by homelessness and get a social media shout out thanking you for your support. If you chose this option please also email firstname.lastname@example.org with your social media handles.
£25 or more: Cupcake Poster
Get a kitsch, fun, pink and glorious cupcake poster for £25 (usual price £30). This poster has been designed by Luke Smith, Accumulate participant and winner of an Accumulate scholarship to study on the Access to HE course in Design and Digital Media at Ravensbourne University London. Cupcake poster size is 42 x 59 cm.
£25 or more: F**k Off Spray Poster
Get the world-famous F**k Off spray poster for £25 (usual price £30). This poster has been designed by Toby Williams who took part in the Accumulate zine workshops at the Evolve Hostel in South London. Poster size is 42 x 59 cm.
£30 or more: Video Thank You, Social Shout Out, Accumulate Zine
Get a personalised video thank you from an Accumulate participant directly to you and broadcasted on social media, with a personal shout out thanks to you and also get an Accumulate DECAY zine created by the Accumulate participants and full of thoughts, visuals and words from young people affected by homelessness. If you chose this reward then please email email@example.com with your social media handle.
£40 or more: Signed Book of Homelessness & Social Media Shout Out
Receive a signed copy of The Accumulate Book of Homelessness (published in June 2020). This will be a "first edition", full of visuals and stories created by young people affected by homelessness, beautifully produced and designed by The Patrick Fry Studio. Plus get an Accumulate social media shoutout and thank you for your support. If you choose this reward please also email info.accumulate.org.uk with your social media handle.
£75 or more: VIP Tour and Visit to The Accumulate Book of Homelessness Exhibition
Have a VIP tour of the Accumulate Book of Homelessness Exhibition showcasing the art created by the participants on the project, hear the story of Accumulate from the founder, Marice Cumber, about the project and how it came about and also meet some of the participants. The tour will either be on 4th or 5th June 2020.
£100 or more: Take Part in an Accumulate Creative Workshop
Attend and participate in an Accumulate creative workshop, taking place between January and March 2020. Go on - Get your creative juices going, explore your talents and get a full Accumulate creative workshop experience!
£125 or more: Your Name in The Book of Homelessness and get a Signed Copy
Get your name listed as a donor and credited and thanked in the Accumulate Book of Homelessness and get a signed copy of the book. This will be a "first edition", full of visuals and stories created by young people affected by homelessness, beautifully produced and designed by The Patrick Fry Studio. Something to be truly proud of!
£225 or more: Full Credits & Signed Copy of The Book of Homelessness
Get your name listed and thanked on The Book of Homelessness exhibition wall, credited and thanked in the Accumulate Book of Homelessness (published on June 4th 2020) and receive a signed copy. Be proud of what you have donated and how much you have helped to change homeless people's lives.
£225 or more: Intro to Photography Tuition with Accumulate Tutor, Tori Taiwo.
Learn the ins and outs of your DSLR camera, get confident and know how to get great shots on this Intro to Photography two hour session. You will be taught by the fabulous Accumulate photography tutor, Tori Taiwo, who will guide and show you how to get the best out of your camera. This session will be for up to 5 people, will take place in early 2020 in London and will be arranged for a date suitable to all.
£1000 or more: Exclusive Accumulate Photo Shoot & Signed Copy of The Book of Homelessness.
Get your (or your work team’s / friends / family’s) photograph taken at a professional photoshoot. The photographs will be taken by an Accumulate tutor (industry professional) assisted by an Accumulate participant (4 prints). This is your chance to create social good by giving opportunities to young, homeless people so that they can get valuable work experience and you get great photograph portraits & get a signed copy of The Book of Homelessness.
£5000 or more: Scholarship named after You, Signed Book of Homelessness & Full Credits
Have an Accumulate scholarship (for the Access to HE in Design and Digital Media at Ravensbourne University London) named after you and which you will be able to award directly to the selected Accumulate participant at the Accumulate exhibition on June 4th 2020. This reward will change someone’s life forever through education. Plus receive a signed copy of The Book of Homelessness plus you will be credited in the book and on the exhibition wall.
About The Accumulate Book of Homelessness Project and how it will work:
We are really excited to have expert tutors for this project including Henny Beaumont, Soofiya Chaudry, Tori Taiwo, Kolton Lee, Sue Pickford and David Tovey, all of whom have professional expertise in this area. These Accumulate workshops will take place in the education space of Autograph (Association of Black Photographers) in Shoreditch and will be supported by volunteers and students.
On the creative workshops, the Accumulate participants will be given instruction in using a variety of creative mediums including photography, drawing, writing and collage to tell their stories. Through this approach, the participants will find their own unique creative "voice" - this is incredibly important and empowering as often this group feel un-listened to, without an identity and with no means to engage with the outside world. They will use this creative voice to express their stories and communicate with a wider audience.
The creative workshops, will give identity, agency, value and purpose to the Accumulate participants. They will raise awareness of the talents of these young people, who are disenfranchised from society but who have an important story to tell, and foster skills and wellbeing. At the project end, the stories, characters and illustrations that the homeless young people have produced will be gathered together, edited and curated into the Accumulate Book of Homelessness, this will be led by the Patrick Fry Studio.
The Accumulate Book of Homelessness will launch on June 4th 2020 at The Autograph Gallery in Shoreditch. The gallery have collaborated on this project from the start, will provide free workshop space and, along with Ravensbourne University London, are the main project partners. At the book launch, visitors will view artwork from the book, listen to readings, meet the homeless people who have been involved with the project and gain a deeper understanding of, and connection with, the challenges facing young people who are homeless.
Where Will Your Money Go?
The Book of Homelessness project will have 15 workshops and is costed as follows:
Creative Workshop Tutors (2 per session): 15 x £300 = £4500
Creative Workshop Support Workers (2 per session): 15 x £90 = £1350
Participant travel to workshops: 15 x 20 participants x £10 = £3000
Participant Lunches: 15 x 20 participants x £4 = £1200
Art Direction: £2500
Graphic Novel Printing and Publishing: £4000
Exhibition and Book Launch: £800
Why is The Book of Homelessness Project Important and Needs to Happen?
The top three support needs of young, homeless people are not being in education, employment or training (44%), a lack of independent living skills (41%) and mental health problems (35%) (Homeless Link, 2018). This group also suffers from depression (over 10 times higher than elsewhere) coupled with severe ill health, poverty and boredom (Mental Health Foundation, 2015). Recent research into the factors of loneliness cite negative self-perception, life-transitions, poor physical and mental health and ethnicity. These sources of social isolation and loneliness can be prevented through experiencing meaningful and purposeful activities with other people that are enjoyable, build connections and communities and have “sharing” as their focus.(The National Lottery Community Fund, 2019). Young people, disenfranchised from their families and support network, isolated in hostels and alone, often in a new city or even country, are suffering from loneliness. They also suffer from limited or no financial resource or mental capacity to join in activities that may counter and stem their social isolation. In addition to this, long term unemployed people also suffer stigma, isolation and loss of self-worth that can lead to the use of alcohol or drugs, suicide or suicidal behaviour. (Faculty of Public Health and Mental Health Foundation, 2016).
This proposed project will enable the young, disadvantaged people to participate in meaningful and purposeful creative activities that will raise their self esteem and make them more open to change, which will improve their health and lifestyle and reduce their loneliness.
In addition, this experience of the arts and culture will create a sense of wellbeing and transform the quality of life for the beneficiaries. Their participation in the arts will contribute to community cohesion, reduce social exclusion and isolation, and/or make people feel safer and stronger. This project will, therefore, use creative education and action based learning to address the critical and systemic issues, barriers and challenges that these homeless, young people are experiencing and which hinder the possibility of them progressing and being able to live a positive and fulfilling life. The creative workshops will provide a sense of community, friendship groups and connections with other young people. Through this their mental health and wellbeing will be improved - which is critical if any positive self-development is to take place. This improvement in mental health will foster and generate feelings of self worth, identity and value for the participant that will counter any existing negative self - perception and will build their confidence. This newly found confidence and mental health improvement will work collectively towards enabling them to consider and take-up opportunities for further training and education so that they can move forward positively with their lives, become fulfilled and reintegrate into society.
How Good is Accumulate?
Every year Accumulate evaluates the impact of its work and measures the progress of its participants and their transformation through their engagement with the project through feedback questionnaires and written reports. These are compiled, by an external expert, into an evaluation report. Through this, we learn about what worked well, what we need to improve and how we need to develop further.
We are also really proud that others recognise how transformative Accumulate’s work is in improving young, homeless people’s lives:
But don't just take our word for how impactful Accumulate's work is! These are quotes from participants, hostel support workers and exhibitions visitors that show how impactful our work is and how we have changed homeless people’s lives.
“To have a group consistently attend a course over a 15 week period in itself is an achievement, but for physical pain, emotional challenges and low self esteem and confidence to be overcome and for the group dynamic that has developed with the Evolve participants through the regular attendance and shared experience of Accumulate is truly a breath of fresh air. The detail and depth of the project is what really sets it apart from “other” arty projects.”
Nick Rosekilly Work & Learning Manager Evolve Housing
“The course has also helped me better myself, not just my photography. When I first turned up I was so anxious and nervous I didn’t speak to anybody but as time has gone by I’ve become more comfortable and confident both with teachers and other people on the course. Furthermore it has helped me take bigger steps to getting over my anxiety issues as there have been times where I have had to speak to members of the public as I needed their permission to take certain photographs. This amazes me because there have been times I’ll even avoid answering my phone because I feel anxious about the conversation when it would be something completely normal and nothing to worry about.
I am extremely thankful for the opportunities, support and services Accumulate have been offering me as it has got me so excited about doing things again."
Who are the People behind Accumulate and How is it Funded?
Marice Cumber set up Accumulate in 2013 as a way of using her skills and expertise in creativity education and enterprise to support and change the lives of young people who are homeless, marginalised and lacking hope in their future. She started the project off with one hostel in North London, has grown the project to now work with nine hostels and has established and developed the links with Accumulate’s external partners.
Accumulate employs three external members of staff who look after its project management, marketing and social media presence. Accumulate reports to an external board of trustees who are responsible for the accountability of the Accumulate charity and its adherence to its constitution and objectives. The Accumulate board members are made up of experts from education, fundraising, business, culture and homelessness, and includes one trustee who was formerly homeless.
Accumulate is funded through its partnership with Ravensbourne University London, via grants and donations and through the sales of its art products and services. Accumulate has received grants from, amongst others, The Arts Council, Nesta, The RSA and The National Lottery.