Accessible Arts & Media

Accessible Arts & Media

At a glance


  • Learning disabilities / difficulties

Other details

Organisation type: 
Geographical remit: 


We’re a small charity, based in Chapelfields, York. We’ve been delivering inclusive creative learning and wellbeing projects in and around York since 1982.   AAM is a company limited by guarantee and a registered charity. 

Our work’s built around the belief that everyone can learn, everyone can be creative, and everyone can play a part in their local community. They just need the right support, and that’s where we come in. We’ve got a vision for a more inclusive society, where everyone gets the chance to shine, and we’re helping to make that happen in York.  

Our projects include specialist creative sensory activities for people with complex disabilities, dementia and mental ill health; training programmes where learning-disabled adults and young people learn how to be workshop leaders; singing and signing choirs; accessible music-making groups; and creative media programmes that help people tell their stories.

The people who take part in our sessions often face difficulty with everyday activities and can end up feeling isolated and cut off. Taking part in our projects helps them: 

  • explore and connect with the world around them, in a safe, supportive, fun environment;  

  • learn new skills that they can transfer to other parts of their lives, including education, training and employment;  

  • connect with other people, making new friends along the way;  

  • grow the confidence to have more of a say in the things that matter to them;  

  • build emotional resilience; 

  • contribute to their local community through workshops, performances and film commissions;  

  • feel happy, connected, confident and valued, all of which can have a profound impact on wellbeing.​  

We’re not a campaigning organisation but we’ve brought inclusion and diversity to the forefront in York for more than 40 years. We’re experts in creating a caring environment where everyone’s supported to take part in the way that suits them best. It’s a space where you can be yourself. And it’s a space where people develop the confidence to realise that they have a voice. 

One of our volunteers had this to say: I have volunteered with Accessible Arts and Media for over 3 years now and the people I have met through the charity have really made an impact on my life for the better. They are such positive workers and very understanding of people’s needs and each other’s. I have gained lifelong skills in communication, and it’s given me a lot of reward from being part of the team. I recommend them to anyone wanting to gain skills and be part of great ongoing projects in York. 

As we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic, our projects and activities are more essential than ever.  

We know, from talking to the people who take part in our projects, that the past two years have had a big impact on them. We’ve got an important role to play in supporting their wellbeing as they rebuild their confidence and re-connect with their community.  


Our projects include: singing and signing choirs, creative digital media programmes, specialist creative and therapeutic sensory activities, and training programmes where learning-disabled adults and young people train to become workshop leaders. 

A lot of different people take part in Accessible Arts & Media projects, from disabled adults and young people, to older people living with dementia and memory loss and people with mental ill-health. We also work with schools, community groups and local businesses. 

Accessible Arts & Media use a person-centred approach. This means that all activities are tailored to the individual, supporting everyone to take part in the way that suits them best. They level the playing field by providing everyone with the support and space they need to have an equal say. And they make sure that everyone has a lot of fun along the way! 
Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, Accessible Arts & Media provided tailored online activities. The people who took part were asked about the difference the sessions had made to them. This is what they said: 

  • 100% said that taking part made them feel happy   

  • 100% said they feel they have a say in what happens in the sessions 

  • 100% said the online sessions helped them be creative at home 

  • 82% said the online sessions helped them feel connected to their friends during lockdown 

  • 82% said that taking part helped them get better at concentrating 

  • 70% said the online sessions helped them feel more confident using their computer/tablet 

“They’re just so lovely and fun. And so important because everything else stopped and it’s so nice to be connected.”  

“We would have lost all connections without them.”  

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