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Launched in October 2000, Fast Forward was the only project of its kind at the time: delivering the arts to homeless people across Oxford. Its mission was to promote the power of the arts and its positive social, cultural and educational impact within vulnerable groups.
It set out to provide a city-wide art education programme for homeless people aged 16-30. The arts were adopted as a tool to support and enable individuals to gain a wide range of creative, social and learning skills, boosting their self-development and providing them with a mode of self-expression.
Artists Jane Stokes, Julie Bradshaw, and Ann Rapstoff worked alongside participants to share their passion for the arts, exchange ideas and provide support and encouragement within an experiential learning environment.
“I am much more confident about showing my artwork and feel I have improved especially with the silk paintings. I really enjoyed the variety of the course.”
The participants' work was then exhibited at a number of venues around Oxford, including the X-change Gallery, the Art-T Centre, East Oxford Community Centre, and the Zodiac.
The work also featured in an exhibition called No Fixed Abode in Bray town centre in Ireland.
For those attending the project, Fast Forward was instrumental to the creation of alternative pathways for training opportunities and several of the participants went onto vocational, education, and employment tracks as a result. Their routes included desktop publishing, office computing, business management, British Sign Language, ceramics, catering, art foundation and photography. Four participants were able to access employment following their participation in the project.
“It opened up…existing needs to play with materials. Packed and kept together… we had many discussions.”
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