Comedius is a social enterprise and community interest company. Plans for comedies are long term right now and projects will take a while to establish. However there are two arms, performing arts, and sports, that are already up and running. The performing arts project is called NFA Arts, and the sporting project involves football and is called NFA Derby FC.
The NFA Derby football consists of a group of current or ex homeless or ex-offenders that get involved with team work and common goals (excuse the pun!). Each of the football players is given a ‘players handbook’ when they first join. This handbook sets out a code of conduct and policies, as well as setting out the aims of the group. I found a quote on the last page of the booklet that I find particularly appropriate, and it is by Winston Churchill when he said “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
The project aims of the NFA Derby are listed in page two of the players handbook, and I have reproduced them for your information below. There are five objectives as follows:
(1) To create and sustain opportunities for socially excluded people to engage in sports and leisure related activities;
(2) To enable socially excluded people to access essential resources in order to engage with relevant vocational training and education;
(3) To promote broader awareness of sports and leisure projects within the community as a measure to reduce and prevent anti-social behaviour and crime;
(4) To improve the general physical, emotional and psychological well being and health of socially excluded people; and
(5) To encourage personal development and communication skills among socially excluded people by active participation in sporting and leisure activities.
The mission statement of the Arts branch of Comedius is that “We want to actively engage and encourage homeless and socially excluded people to participate in the creative and performing arts”. The three aims of Comedius NFA Arts are as follows:
(1) To create and sustain opportunities for homeless and socially excluded people to engage in creative arts activities;
(2) To enable homeless and socially excluded people to access essential resources in order to participate in creative arts activities; and
(3) To promote broader awareness of the creative arts to the wider community.
In his interview, Jamie Gratton refers to the music album called ‘The Buskers Album’. This album is an example of how homeless and socially excluded people can be engaged actively using multi-media technology. The album is more than just a music CD. It also tells a story, as it features images and interviews with the artists and other people involved in producing the album.