What is the Campaign about?

Welsh language information

The Family Arts Campaign is a national Sector Support Organisation funded by Arts Council England and the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation to raise family engagement with arts and culture.

Since our beginnings in 2012, we have focused on three main areas of work:

  • Increasing the amount and range of artistic work available to families
  • Increasing the quality of experience for families
  • Improving marketing to reach more families

We are here to support National Portfolio Organisations, museums, libraries, community groups, individuals, and anyone else looking to better connect families with arts and culture.

You can take part by signing up to the free Family Arts Standards and Age-Friendly Standards quality-marks, by attending training and events, or accessing our online resources library. You can also promote all of your family and age-friendly events for free as part of our Fantastic for Families  campaign.

Who is running the Campaign?

We are a cross-sector and cross-artform initiative steered by a consortium of ten organisations and trade bodies. Our lead partner organisation is The Albany.

Association of British OrchestrasIndependent Theatre CouncilSociety of London TheatreUK THEATRE_CORE_rgb_100
Kids in Museums 


The campaign is overseen by a Project Board:

Helen Featherstone Deputy Director, Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Cassie ChaddertonHead of UK Theatre & Membership Development, UK Theatre
Charlotte JonesChief Executive, Independent Theatre Council
Cath HumeExecutive Director, Arts Marketing Association
Robert O’DowdChief Executive, Rose Theatre Kingston
Gavin BarlowChief Executive/Artistic Director, The Albany
Matthew SwannChief Executive, City of London Sinfonia
Mark PembertonDirector, Association of British Orchestras
Katy SpicerChief Executive & Artistic Director, efdss
Anne TorreggianiExecutive Director, The Audience Agency
Karla Barnacle-BestCEO, Discover Children’s Story Centre
Paula Graham-GazzardNational Coordinator, Contemporary Visual Arts Network
Alison Bowyer and Laura BedfordExecutive Director and Head of Programmes, Kids in Museums

Central co-ordination is led by a small team:

Anna DeverHead of Campaign
Clair DonnellyProject Manager
Rukhsana JahangirFamily Arts Network Coordinator

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The story behind our award-winning welcome: The Point – home of darts (Doncaster Community Arts)

A family making music

In February 2019, Doncaster Community Arts (darts) won our Fantastic for Families Best Family Welcome Award.

In the lead up to darts’ 30th birthday, Assistant Director, Helen Jones tells us why a Best Family Welcome Award is so valuable to all of their team.

darts’ approach is always to respond to the individual and ensure that they have the best possible experience while they are with us. This innate passion for people extends to our building, The Point, and we know that every single member of staff will go out of their way to make sure that visitors, volunteers and participants are warmly welcomed in whatever way is appropriate to them.

We run regular sessions at The Point including Creative Directions for adults with mental health issues, Singing for Memory for older people with dementia and their carers and All Aboard for children and young people with disabilities. Regular family workshops provide opportunities for children and their families to get stuck in and be creative together and weekly Art and Music Clubs and Swag Choir allow young people to become more creatively independent. There are a multitude of organisations and businesses hiring rooms for all different purposes as well as three other community organisations who are based at The Point full time. We also have a beautiful contemporary gallery that hosts a rolling programme of free exhibitions specifically programmed with our audiences in mind. Our lovely café and other public seating spaces are open to all and people can come to the building to meet their friends, work, or just take some time out and relax!

Whoever our visitors and participants come into contact with – from our arts administrators who are often the first contact for a nervous participant to our artists delivering the creative activity, from our friendly receptionists to our café staff, from every amazing volunteer and trustee who give their time for free – we know that they will find a way to make people feel comfortable and at home.

Families at PointFEST

darts bought The Point in in 1997. We opened in May 1998 and then in 2007 had the opportunity to expand into the building next door to create our double height, glazed gallery space. The award-winning restoration successfully combines Georgian townhouses with modern architecture, although this has not been without its challenges! Both accessibility and visibility (on street signage is limited by our Grade II Listed status) are an ongoing priority. Over the years we have adapted the venue to respond to the needs of our visitors; making significant capital changes in 2016 that including a Changing Place facility with full sized changing bed, adjustable sink and toilet, hoist and shower. Following recent focus groups with our visitors, we are in the process of designing a more welcoming reception area with improved accessibility, refreshed signage and dementia friendly furniture. It is so important that we get this right so that we cater for our existing participants and bring in lots of new ones.

We are incredibly proud of our staff – all of whom fully embrace whatever new skills we throw at them. Makaton, for example, is a language programme using signs and symbols to help people to communicate. Our Assistant Director became a local Makaton tutor five years ago and has since trained our artists and front of house staff to use Makaton on a day to day basis and to enhance creative delivery. The Point is now the only Makaton Friendly public venue in Doncaster and we have evidence that using Makaton really improves communication through projects with musicians in special schools and with older people whose dementia is having an impact on their use of language. It also means that reception staff can say hello and direct people to the café!

All of our staff and volunteers are also Dementia Friends and we have worked with dementia specialists to assess the building and find ways to eliminate elements that are potentially confusing. Artists leading our Singing for Memory sessions have learned so much over the years and adapt their approach to ensuring a mix of both familiarity and repetition, and creative content that is gently challenging in order to keep the brain active. This is definitely not your traditional dementia session! The group sings songs from all over the world, from all genres and from Elvis to Rihanna. A large part of its uniqueness is due to the original songs created by the participants themselves and the group has worked with a range of musicians and wordsmiths, including poet Ian McMillan, to write original compositions that reflect the mood and interests of those in the room.

The Point is a magical place that inspires, motivates and intrigues. It is a safe space where people can be themselves without judgement. It is a fun place where people can be curious and creative, and it is a transformative place where you can embark on a journey and make a positive change – whether tiny or life-changing!

We were so thrilled to win the 2019 Fantastic for Families Best Family Welcome Award because it absolutely celebrates everything that the staff, volunteers and trustees at The Point have achieved through their dedication and hard work. It is a perfect moment to reflect and enjoy this recognition as we move into our thirtieth year. Our staff are an unstoppable force and we have so much more planned for 2020 and beyond. Watch this space as we find new ways to welcome more people into our lovely building!

Lots of information about visiting The Point, what’s on offer and the work of darts can be found here www.thepoint.org.uk

Applying for a Fantastic for Families Award


Organisations who list their events on the Fantastic for Families listings website will be eligible to self-nominate for a Fantastic for Families Award.

Awards are judged by a panel of experts and include votes from members of the public.

Details of the next awards application will be released in 2020. Sign up to the Family Arts Campaign mailing list (below) to remain up-to-date.

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