We are not just an arts centre. We share our building with the charity, Crisis, and together we aim to help end homelessness in Oxford. Crisis Skylight is an education, training and employment centre for single homeless people. This includes practical and creative workshops together with formal learning opportunities that lead to qualifications and finding work, a dedicated employment service to help people prepare to find and keep jobs and a social enterprise café providing on the job and accredited training and experience. We help homeless people move on in three ways:
- We enable Skylight members to see shows and learn about the exhibitions in our gallery.
- We provide opportunities for homeless people to create and show work. In 2012, Skylight members have shown photographs in our gallery as part of the ‘Here and Now’ exhibition, created a shop window display for the Jubilee and exhibited regularly in the café. In December 2012 we creatied a new performance piece with Crisis entitled ‘Hidden Spire’ involving Skylight members and professional performers. Find Our More>
- We offer volunteering opportunities and already employ 5 Skylight members as volunteer ushers. In 2013, with the support of Oxford City Council, we will also be offering work placements to Skylight members to learn customer service skills – front of house, in the shop and backstage.
Simply by sharing space, we add value to each other’s work. Members of the public come to the Old Fire Station to drink coffee, buy art, attend dance classes or watch a show. Homeless people come to learn, gain skills and get support. Artists and students come to rehearse, create and showcase. Local residents and businesses too have access to spaces they can use for their own events. They all come through the same door and find themselves sharing space and overlapping interests. Our work strengthens communities by bringing them together. In particular, homeless people, many of whom are very vulnerable, can become part of a public organisation walking through inspirational spaces every day where they are treated with respect.