At Soft Touch Arts we are committed to having a low environmental impact on our city and the world around us. As an organisation that works with young people we have a responsibility to take action towards mitigating the climate and nature emergency – it is their future at stake.
We are working towards embedding sustainability into everything that we do. These are the actions we will take to achieve this:
- Give opportunities to young people to understand the climate emergency and channel their ideas and voices to the people who make the decisions – whether that’s politicians, the local council or the adults in their lives. We want to empower them to take action on their terms.
- Through participation in the arts, empower young people to use their creativity to shout about the effect climate change is having on our planet and our lives.
- Reduce the carbon footprint of our building, van and project delivery to reach as near to net zero carbon emissions as possible.
- Save water.
- Walk the reduce, reuse, recycle walk for all materials, equipment and consumables used for project delivery, the office, and the building.
- Audit all purchases against sustainability criteria, including purchasing locally and from environmentally ethical sources.
- Communicate a positive message to inspire our young people and the community at large – it’s not too late, we can all get involved in making a difference.
So what is our vision?
As well as making great art and music with young people we want to open up opportunities for them to learn about the climate emergency we face as a community and how young people are and will be affected – but to do this in ways which are engaging and led by them. We are keen to show young people the wider world beyond their estates and neighbourhoods by visiting other, wilder places and creating art in places they have never experienced before. We believe that immersion in the outdoors and nature inspires creativity.
We already use a large amount of re- and up-cycled materials for our arts projects. For example, young people make furniture out of pallets; clocks out of vinyl records; and laser cut items using waste plastics from factories. We get donations of paper, plastics and fabric from festivals, musicians and artists. The public regularly donates equipment such as sewing machines, musical instruments, sound equipment and printers. On the other side of the coin, we donate excess materials to other charities who support people in need. We recycle things that can no longer be used.
Our kitchens ambition is to source locally where we can, making great food from scratch, 100% vegetarian, non processed healthy meals, showing people how to eat well, buy economically, learning vital skills to take with them beyond their time at Soft Touch Arts.
We have declared a climate emergency alongside many organisations, through the Culture Declares Emergency network. This is a growing international movement of individuals and organisations in arts and culture who have declared a climate and ecological emergency. Through CDE Soft Touch is able to be part of the collective imagination of cultural practitioners, artists, crafters, performers, educators, producers, and venues around the globe, adding our creative voice to theirs.
As an Arts Council England-supported organisation we get support from Julie's Bicycle, a pioneering not-for-profit, which is mobilising the arts and culture to take action on the climate and ecological crisis. This helps us analysis our carbon footprint, travel and consumption to support us in finding ways to move towards being carbon neutral in the future. This is part of Arts Council England’s ambition to be more sustainable,
One of our directors, Joe Crofton, has achieved carbon literacy status.
Through partnership working we are creating more opportunities for young people to have fun through creating great art while considering our everyday actions and their impact on the environment. It also means that what we are doing gets a higher profile.
In summer 2022 we partnered with our local Canal and River Trust to work with young people from local schools and clubs to make signs from recycled materials which were displayed on the waterside to encourage people to enjoy their local environment.