News & Opportunities News Epic Awards 2017 opens for applications Are you part of a creative group that is doing something exciting and interesting? Have you embarked on a particularly ambitious project, interesting collaboration or made a difference to the lives of others in your community? From creative writing to making music and from amateur theatre to yarn-bombing, over 65,000 amateur arts groups across the UK and Republic of Ireland are making a huge difference in their local areas. There is growing recognition in the media and in public policy of the importance of everyday participation in creativity. The Epic Awards shines a spotlight on the incredible achievements of these groups each year. You can nominate your group or a group in your local area for an award by filling in the form at www.epicawards.co.uk and put them forward for special recognition and a range of prizes from financial support to advice, partnership and performance opportunities. Winning groups are those that demonstrate the four Epic qualities – Engagement, Partnership, Innovation and Creativity – in projects that involve people taking part for the love of it. The 2016 Epic Awards winners included GO! Palace Plymouth (England), The Hermit Collective (Ireland), alter:nativity (Scotland) and Pimp My Uke (Wales). The Winners’ Reception was held in the spectacular setting of Cardiff Castle in April 2016. Last year’s People’s Choice Award winners were Strike a Chord, a choir based in South Wales and working with stroke patients to help them through their recovery. After winning the award by attracting thousands of votes, representatives of the choir were also invited on to Breakfast on BBC1 following the Winner’s Reception to speak about the impact of singing on the group. Robin Simpson, CEO of Voluntary Arts who run the Epic Awards, said The incredible range of diverse projects we discover each year through the Epic Awards is truly inspiring. We’ve been consistently amazed by the imaginative, adventurous and ambitious creative activity that is taking place in every community across the UK and Ireland. We look for something special that really encapsulates the spirit of what the Epic Awards is all about. We’re looking forward to seeing what projects wow our judging panels this year. Groups of all sizes, working in all sorts of areas have been shortlisted in the past so the opportunity is there for any creative group that feels they fit the bill. The winners’ reception has been a real highlight of the year for us and just incredibly humbling to see the skill, commitment and enthusiasm among all of these groups. We’re excited to see who we can shine a spotlight on this year so get your applications in soon! Heather Hunter and Faith Sanderson of GO! Together, Winners of the England Award 2016, said: GO! (Great Opportunities) Together were delighted to win Epic Awards 2016 for England. As a young charity winning the award has encouraged us to launch 6 brand new creative projects in the last twelve months supporting and inspiring young people. With so many groups and charities using creativity to make a difference, the GO! Team were honoured and encouraged to meet the others at the EPIC awards in Cardiff whose projects were nothing short of inspirational. Winning this award has created a belief in our abilities and inspired us to create bigger projects that has lead to many more young people being given the opportunity to engage in the arts. While Leanne Rahman, Black History Month Wales, Epic Awards 2016 Wales Runners-Up, said: On behalf of the entire BHM Wales Committee, we'd like to thank you ever so much for our amazing award. Saturday's ceremony was such a wonderful event and it was a real pleasure to get to know so many inspirational groups, so-much-so that we all want to keep in touch. We are eternally grateful for the generosity of the Epic Awards. The Epic Awards are an initiative of Voluntary Arts, an organisation that works across the UK and Republic of Ireland to promote participation in creative cultural activities. The awards have been held each year since 2010 to provide an important moment in the spotlight for some of the thousands of groups across the UK and Republic of Ireland making their communities more creative. The Epic Awards celebrate the achievement of voluntary arts groups by recognising the skill, innovation and hard work that goes into their activities.