Voluntary Arts

Voluntary Arts

At a glance


  • Arts
  • Health and well being / research and care
  • Voluntary sector support

Other details

Geographical remit: 
National - Britain


Creative cultural activity encompasses the activities of traditional amateur arts and crafts groups as well as wider (and emerging) definitions of the arts within differing cultures, new forms of digital creativity and other areas of cultural creativity, such as those practised in gardens, kitchens and workshops. It also emphasises culture as a process and includes a sense of active involvement.

Voluntary Arts recognises the important contribution that creative cultural activity makes to individual and collective wellbeing. It encourages civic participation, develops learning, improves health and contributes to the enrichment of lives. Voluntary Arts believes that, rather than starting from a deficit model that suggests not enough people are taking part in a prescribed range of arts and cultural activities, it is important to support the broad engagement of people in their communities’ creative lives, and on their own terms.

Understanding of how benefits accrue in creative cultural activity from the individual to the collective underpins our approach as does the understanding of how creative cultural activity behaves as an ecology. We seek to support peoples’ creative lives as well as community needs and societal outcomes by playing our part in a broader enabling framework.


The work of Voluntary Arts can be categorised as follows:


  • Connect – alliances, partnerships, networking, brokering
  • Influence – lobbying, advocacy, representation, consultation, research
  • Develop – information, advice, training


Voluntary Arts works actively across the UK and Republic of Ireland and connects beyond these islands to other national networks which champion creative cultural activity. That gives us a unique perspective at international, national andlocal levels.

We believe in thinking globally and connecting locally and although we are able to act nationally and internationally and do, we understand that most creative cultural activity is experienced locally.

This informs our approach to the national initiatives we undertake: it is important that these initiatives both create a national profile and happen locally with activities organised by creative citizens. We make connections between local and national by identifying inspirational stories that we can share, bringing people together and building our knowledge of where and how creative cultural activities happen.

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