Council wins award in Hearts for the Arts award

A unique campaign to encourage more people to consider fostering has been named the Best Local Authority Initiative in the National Campaign for the Arts’ Hearts For The Arts Awards 2018.

I.AM.NOT.A.ROBOT, by Plymouth City Council has been named Best Local Authority Arts Initiative in the awards which celebrate the work of councils, councillors and council officers who have overcome financial challenges to ensure the arts stay at the centre of community life.

I.AM.NOT.A.ROBOT was an artwork and social-marketing campaign to encourage more people to consider becoming a foster carer, conceived and designed by five young people aged 12 to 17, who are currently in care.

They worked with professional artists and University students over the holidays to train as artists and curators, and to develop their ideas for the show.  The project is a partnership between the Council, local arts charity Effervescent, The Big Lottery Fund, Arts Council England and University of Plymouth.

A total of 60 customised and interactive robots formed an immersive art installation, each representing an individual child in care. Visitors read stories to the robots and donated hugs through interactive technology. The young people wanted audiences to know that children in care are all individuals with different stories, hopes, dreams and needs.

The project gave the children and young people the opportunity to develop skills in design, programming, marketing, creativity and arts and working within a team, whilst promoting the idea that local people can get involved in the foster care community in different ways; and gave looked after children a platform to express themselves in a creative way.

Rachel Wood, Arts Development Officer, Oldham Borough Council and 2017 winner, said:‘This innovative project provided looked after young people the opportunity to work alongside artists, learn new skills and raise awareness of the need for more foster carers.  Fantastic project!’

Councillor Terri Beer, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Families for Plymouth City Council, said: “We would like to congratulate all of the nominees and winners of this year’s National Campaign for the Arts.

“We also would like to thank the team at the National Campaign for the Arts for giving our children and young people this wonderful opportunity. We would also like to thank the panel of judges for recognising their work that was so beautifully created.”

Alison Barker, Service Manager (permanency) for Plymouth City Council, said: “We hope that working with partners such as effervescent will further support, encourage and educate looked after children and that initiatives such as these engage the wider public, encouraging them to further support children and young people in care.”

Full training and support is given to foster carers and we are seeking new carers across the board primarily for sibling groups, teenagers, parent and child. We welcome contact from anyone wishing tp hear more about fostering and how it can work for them.

Anybody interested in finding out more about Fostering for Plymouth can contact the fostering team on 01752 304067 or register their interest online

There were four categories: Best Local Authority Arts Initiative, Best Local Authority Arts Champion – Councillor, Best Local Authority Arts Champion – Officer, and Best Local Authority Arts Project Encouraging Community Cohesion. 

The 2018 Hearts For The Arts Awards were delivered by the NCA and UK Theatre, in partnership with Culture Counts, the Local Government Association (LGA), Arts Development UK (ADUK) and What Next?
For more information on the winners visit