Risky Business

“Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body” 

Elizabeth Stone 

At FreeFall+ last week I overheard a conversation between two of our regular mums about the number of days they’d spent in hospital with their young people over the Christmas period. The tone of the conversation was more like they were discussing how many times they’d popped to the shops. It brought a few things home. For one, that when we leave the room we all go off and live separate lives that on some levels we might never understand. And how beautiful it is that we can all come back together in a room and not need to understand it all to feel part of the crew. It’s also hard not to be struck by the fragility of some of our core members and the risks they take, along with their families, to live life to the full without succumbing to living in a jar of cotton wool. It is evident that risk taking is a common trait in our core members and their families. It’s a huge part of why our projects have been so successful to this point. 


Living ‘risk’

Never has this been more apparent than in our drama group last week where Phil instructed us all to get up in front of the rest of the group, one by one, and perform ‘something’…‘anything’.  We had a rendition of YMCA, a tennis match, some juggling, a hand stand…It was excruciatingly awkward for everyone involved but somehow we all managed to do something. As awkward as it was, it was also pretty cool. As with a lot of the ‘stuff’ that comes out of our Arts groups, it is born of people taking a big leap of faith and not really knowing what’s going to happen. I don’t know how many lectures an Art student has to go to or how many hip coffee houses they need to be seen in to develop this skill. I do know that our core members and their families live ‘risk’ every single day and that this quality is reflected in the Art they are producing.  

At the moment we are trying to persuade our funders that giving us some money to develop our project isn’t a risk. We know the creative abilities of our group and we know that given the right conditions, they can create things that make life better for people. Whether it’s a t-shirt, a painting, a bizarre mime on a stage or a moment that changes your mind about everything you thought you knew, our core members are the ones our community needs. Risk taking is just one of the qualities that are embedded in the lives of our group, in a way that you don’t see elsewhere. There are many others that the wider community, particularly in the world of art and culture, can learn from. 

New Collaborations 

Today we are particularly grateful for the risk taken by Neil and his team at Corkscrew, who have confirmed that they would like to involve our group in their programme of entrepreneurship. For many years, Corkscrew has supported young people to develop the personal qualities needed to take their ideas and make them commercially viable. Our core members will be working with them to create a platform to present and potentially sell their art, as recognised artists in their own right. Agreeing to work with our group signifies Neil’s understanding of what our group can achieve for themselves, rather than what needs to be done for them. Like the mums I mentioned previously, our families are asked to take risks every day, sometimes just in leaving the house. Collaborations like our new one with Corkscrew make us hopeful that other areas of the community will be willing to match this risk and see what can happen when they recognise the creative value of our core members…our experience so far tells us they won’t be disappointed.

Until next time,


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