The Atkinson is Awarded £25,000 to Inspire Children with Disabilities

The Atkinson, Southport

The Atkinson arts centre in Southport is expanding its award-winning work with arts and health, with two new projects that inspire and engage children and young people with autism and ADHD.

The Atkinson has been awarded funding for this important work by the charity Children and The Arts, which runs the Start programme, and from Merseyside Arts in Health Initiative.

£20,000 funding from the Start programme means that The Atkinson will work with three local special education schools throughout the next academic year. The three schools who will benefit from the project are Crosby High School, Presfield High School and Rowan Park Teaching School. The funding will mean that every pupil within the three schools will visit The Atkinson, Sefton’s new home for arts, heritage, literature, music, comedy and more, at least twice across the year. Start is aimed at supporting young people to access their local cultural venue and offers them the opportunity to take part in high quality arts activities.

Alongside this, The Atkinson will be hosting for the first time Break the Boredom an innovative programme for children and young people with ADHD, and giving them the opportunity to work with highly creative and inventive artists, and helping to raise their confidence and self-esteem and improve their wellbeing through the arts.
The venue run and managed by Sefton Council has now seen over 1.3 million visitors through its doors since it opened in 2013.

Emma Anderson, Director said:
This funding offers fantastic opportunities for the children in these schools. The Atkinson is already a fully accessible venue for all its events, exhibitions and activities but this money will mean that we are able to provide additional activities, resources and services for our local special school children that would not be possible otherwise.

This is an ambitious project and will require the input of every member of staff within The Atkinson – but it will also make a genuine difference to the lives of young people involved.”

Start is one of the many projects being run by The Prince’s Foundation for Children and the Arts. The money will mean support for the teachers in bringing the pupils to the venue and experiencing a theatre production.

It will help to develop new resources specifically for children with special educational needs and provide training for The Atkinson staff to make sure their visit is one to remember.
Children & the Arts engages with disadvantaged children nationwide who do not have access to high-quality arts activity because of either social or economic barriers.

Through a network of partners they use the arts as a platform to inspire and enable personal and social development amongst those who are hardest to reach. Through our work children learn that cultural venues are welcoming, accessible and exciting places to visit.

They are the only national educational charity committed to ensuring that all children in the UK are inspired by the arts.

For more information about The Atkinson’s programme and the work it does please visit For more information on Start funding please visit