Voluntary trustees needed to help increase access to the arts

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Established in 2006, the Plymouth College of Art Charitable Trust is composed of a board of voluntary trustees with a wide range of skills, who are passionate about helping the next generation of artists and makers. Trustees are responsible for administering funds for students of the college, and for young people who might not otherwise have been able to access the college’s Young Arts club. Trustees also contribute to the decision-making process relating to raising and distributing additional funds. 
Each year the Charitable Trust offers £250 scholarships for up to ten first-year undergraduate (Higher Education) students, to help them push their creative practices and to progress within their chosen fields. The Trust recognises the increasing cost of living and tuition fees, and the pressure this can put on students. The scholarship is designed to help pay for much-needed materials, equipment and trips that go above and beyond the normal study programme, to enable students to experiment with new materials and techniques and take risks with their practice, furthering their professional development. 
The Trust also offers support to students through an employability and internship bursary fund, to help individuals access internships and opportunities for professional industry experience, and offers full and partial funding bursaries for young people to access its Young Arts club.
BA (Hons) Costume Production & Associated Crafts student Rhiannon Skeen was granted a £250 scholarship from the Charitable Trust to help pay for the materials and equipment necessary to create the highest quality costumes possible for her portfolio before graduating. The decision to award the scholarship was made by the Charitable Trust after Rhiannon had demonstrated a personal investment in dance classes at Plymouth’s Barbican Theatre, where she learned in practice about how dancers move, building a body of research to help her in the design and making process of costumes for the theatre.
Rhiannon said: “This scholarship has made the difference between working with cheap fabrics by necessity and elevating my garments to another, more professional level, using high-quality materials, such as traditionally woven fabrics to mimic period costumes. The scholarship has allowed me the freedom to experiment with new techniques and styles, giving me valuable extra experience before I graduate and show off my portfolio garments at interviews.”
21-year-old Poppy Baker, a BA (Hons) Fashion Media & Marketing student, from the college, was granted an employability and internship bursary by the Charitable Trust to support her travel to fulfil an internship for a month with the luxury British bridalwear designers, Halfpenny London. During her internship she developed invaluable industry experience in graphic design, styling, photo-shoots, concept creation, organising press calls, and pitching and designing presentations for online designer fashion outlet Net-a-Porter.
Poppy said: “The bursary allowed me to undertake an internship that I wouldn’t have had the chance to complete otherwise – the expense of travelling to and from London was extortionate, and the bursary made such a difference in that respect. I am so grateful for all of the amazing experience I gained from being there, and definitely feel that it has enhanced my employability. Working at Halfpenny London gave me the chance to discover what field I want to go into, something that would have been much more difficult to discover without that kind of real-world experience in the fashion industry.”
BA (Hons) Costume Production & Associated Crafts student Megan Procter was granted an employability and internship bursary from the Charitable Trust to intern with Birmingham Royal Ballet’s costume department, an internationally-renowned company with a reputation for excellence, producing great dance that inspires people across its home city and the rest of the world. Whilst there she worked on costume maintenance for Coppélia, ensuring that costumes were fit for performance and learning under the tutelage of the Birmingham Royal Ballet wardrobe department.
Megan said: “The highlight of my experience was seeing the costumes up-close. Being able to look at the construction and embellishment was a huge inspiration for me in my degree studies. What challenged me the most was confidence in my own abilities, but working with Birmingham Royal Ballet really built my confidence, and I knew that I was capable of the jobs I was asked to do. I found working there to be a highly inspirational opportunity, seeing the costumes, being in the workroom, and the working environment as a whole.” 
Brian Luscombe, outgoing Chair of Trustees of the Plymouth College of Art Charitable Trust, said: “I am proud that we have been able to help a great many students complete their courses by the awarding of scholarships, bursaries and assisting them in the costs of getting to interviews or work placements. The feedback we get from students is very rewarding and the college itself is appreciative of our work by involving us in the majority of the events that take place throughout the academic year, which in turn makes you feel part of the establishment. I would strongly recommend this role and have always been proud to be associated with Plymouth College of Art.” 
Plymouth College of Art is looking to appoint a number of new trustees to its Charitable Trust. Members of the board of trustees make a positive contribution to helping the Trust achieve its mission, engage fully with a strategic decision-making process, and act as ambassadors for the Trust at local, national, and increasingly international levels. The Trust is particularly interested in working with individuals with skills in fundraising, marketing, charity and arts management, youth development, and business and financial management. This is a non-remunerated role, taken up on a voluntary basis.
The Charitable Trust celebrates equality, diversity and difference, and welcomes candidates from all communities. To register interest, please send a covering letter explaining your interest in joining and the skills you bring, along with a copy of your CV to Hannah Harris [email protected].