Funding boost for Brixton youth charity

group of young people, pose for photo

Brixton-based charity Poetic Unity today (8 January) announces a significant financial boost to build its infrastructure and create campaigns to increase awareness of sickle cell disease, misogyny, homelessness, and more.

Founded in 2015 by chief execiutive Ryan J. Matthews-Robinson, Poetic Unity works out of the Black Cultural Archives on Windrush Square with a mission to provide safe spaces, programmes and opportunities that enable marginalised young people to unlock their full potential.

The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, committed to improving the natural world, securing a fairer future, and strengthening community bonds, will provide a total of £180,000 over the next three years.

Poetic Unity provides creative services across the UK for young people, supporting their mental health, education, and personal development through the power of poetry and creative writing.

In 2022 it was part of a National Lottery funded project helping young people hit hardest by the pandemic to find job opportunities in creative and arts industries.

To date Poetic Unity has provided 1,421 services and supported more than 40,000 young people UK-wide.

group of young people, pose for photo

“The charity shares Esmée Fairbairn Foundation’s dedication to creating positive change, especially at a grassroots local level,” it said.

“The newly secured funding will empower Poetic Unity to expand its reach and amplify its impact on communities.

“New job opportunities and training will become available for young people, with Poetic Unity aiming to train up to 20 young people a year how to run programmes and support their own ventures.”

Ryan J. Matthews-Robinson said: “This funding will enable us to enhance our initiatives, unlocking even more opportunities for positive change through creative expression.

“We are excited to collaborate with a foundation that shares our passion for strengthening communities and creating a fairer future for all, especially young people.”

Catherine Hillis, director of a fairer future, Esmée Fairbairn, said: “We’re thrilled to be supporting Poetic Unity, who provide safe and inclusive spaces for young people to explore their creative expression, supporting them to raise their aspirations and influence change in their lives and the world around them.

“Their close connection to the young people they work with ensures Poetic Unity’s programmes are responsive and relevant. And, whilst they are based in South London, their impact spans the UK, with exciting partnerships that have brought their programmes to Manchester, Birmingham and Scotland.”

group of young people, pose for photo

The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation is one of the largest independent grant-makers in the UK, focused on supporting organisations aligned with its vision.

In 2022 it provided £36.2m to a diverse array of projects.

Going beyond traditional grant funding, the foundation has allocated £45m to organisations aiming to create a substantial social impact.

This aligns with Poetic Unity’s mission to give a voice to the voiceless and empower young people in the community through the creativity of poetry. 

“The collaboration between Poetic Unity and Esmée Fairbairn Foundation demonstrates the potential for impactful partnerships to drive positive change in communities,” Poetic Unity said.

“Poetic Unity looks forward to utilising this funding to continue its mission.”

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