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News: Ex-homeless tenants benefit from Big Lottery grant

Innisfree Housing Association has received a much sought-after grant for a creative arts project that will be used to teach its tenants skills in the art of photography.

Funded by the Big Lottery Fund’s ‘Awards for All’ scheme, which supports small, local community-based initiatives in the UK, Innisfree’s ‘New Connections’ project will train tenants how to compose, take and edit photographs.

Anthony Luvera, an artist who for over 10 years has collaborated with homeless and ex-homeless people living in London and around the UK on various projects, will work with tenants from two Innisfree shared supported houses in Ealing, west London.

The resulting images, based around tenants’ day-to-day lives and including self-portraits, will be showcased in 2012 during an exhibition and printed in a special commemorative publication.

Anthony Luvera assisting during a self-portrait photography session

“Through this work participants will be invited to contribute to a process of making photographs of themselves, their experiences and their points of view,” said Luvera.

He added: “I hope it will shake up negative preconceptions about the experience of homelessness and I look forward to collaborating with Innisfree’s tenants in Ealing.”

The £7,128 grant will also be used to install internet-ready computers enabling tenants to use online services and keep in touch with their friends and family.

Innisfree chief executive, Clare Winstanley, said: “Some of our tenants have spent their lives working in the construction industry and need to re-train and look for other opportunities.”

“However, many have poor literacy and communications skills,” she added. “We hope that this project will help break down barriers and improve their chances to engage with their local community.”

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