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great art
since 1983

Make it Happen

Make it Happen is a tried and tested action learning programme for community volunteers and staff working in grassroots organisations, where people who are involved gain the confidence, motivation and skills to co-produce events, exhibitions, festivals and projects in their own neighbourhood.

Make it Happen is a flexible, participant-centred programme that provides training and support to encourage and enable people to design, manage and deliver their own activities with their own communities and with experts in the field. Whatever appeals - Helix Arts can help you make it happen.

Volunteers of all ages, all abilities, whatever their circumstances share how their health and wellbeing improves during these programmes, while fresh pathways to employability open up. They will feel empowered to get things moving and get other people involved where they live.

Both our long and short programmes involve a mixture of learning and doing, delivered through workshops and supported through independent work between sessions. Everything is built around the group and community organisation’s needs. Groups work collaboratively on their project, bringing together people from their community and surrounding areas. Each project is allocated a budget of up to £2,500 to make it happen.

Volunteers explore their community – looking at specific challenges, strengths, assets and the artforms that are likely to appeal. Sessions cover programme planning, management and coordination; artist recruitment and management; budget and controls; monitoring and evaluation; fundraising, sustainability and legacy.

You just don’t know what you’re letting yourself in for! But the magic started straight- away because Helix Arts’ Creative Producers made everyone believe they would be able to produce an arts event where they live. As a group we mixed well from the outset: the team at Helix Arts made sure everyone had a voice and were very clear about the structure. The modules on finance and the artist’s brief were a challenge but Helix Arts’ Creative Producers are so comfortable with the process they shared with us…it all worked. It would never have entered my head that I would be able to make such a difference in my community. The positive change in my life is down to Make Art Happen and Helix Arts. Liz Keating, Make Art Happen Gateshead volunteer

Helix produces learning materials for each topic and these are gradually being made available online. All sessions bring Helix Arts’ expertise, knowledge, networks and support in a practical way to support the learning.

Thanks to an award from the National Lottery Community Fund, Helix Arts is able to offer Make it Happen in Gateshead and Sunderland with a reduced financial contribution from community partners. We are very happy to outline costs for Make it Happen elsewhere. Do get in touch with us 0191 241 4931 or email Cheryl.

To find out more about the programme, or discuss how to arrange for your group to take part in a future Make it Happen programme, contact Beth at [email protected] or on 07988115427.



MIH Gateshead Artists

Artists living or working in Gateshead are invited to apply for the next round of Make it Happen Gateshead Artists - a programme of FREE arts project management training delivered by Helix Arts in collaboration with Gateshead Council. Sessions take place on Wednesdays from 21 April to 26 May 2021.

The 6-week Make it Happen training programme covers aspects of project management including project aims and drivers, community consultation, roles & responsibilities, planning tools & milestones, financial management, artist briefs & contracts, monitoring & evaluation. The itinerary includes visits from expert speakers, a pack of accompanying resources to keep, and each artist can also access 3 hrs of free mentoring with a member of Helix Arts or Gateshead Council.

At the end of the 6 weeks, artists will be invited to pitch project ideas for project commission/s. Read the Make it Happen Gateshead Artists Round 3 Case Study for information about the projects we supported through Make it Happen last year, through a combination of project commissions and other means.

Find out more and ask questions about the programme at our upcoming information session:

Wednesday 3 March 11am - live event with Q&A at the end (link will be provided before the event).


Interested in applying for Make it Happen Gateshead Artists 2021? Please complete an Expression of Interest form. Deadline 9am Monday 22 March

Programme Schedule Make it Happen Gateshead Artists

FAQs Make it Happen Gateshead Artists

Make it Happen opportunities for youth groups in Gateshead & Sunderland

Make it Happen Young People Flyer If you work with (or are a member of) a youth group who you think would be interested, contact Beth to find out more.

Make it Happen in Sunderland or Gateshead! (1)

Make it Happen - Sunderland Deaf Club

Register your interest here and we will be in touch. Open to Deaf/Harding of Hearing community volunteers. Contact Sam to find out more. Programme starts Monday 18th January 2021.

Revised Jan 2021 MIH flyer   Deaf Club

Make it Happen - Edberts House, Gateshead

Make It Happen gives people the confidence and skills to plan a creative project and work with an artist. By the end of the training you will be ready to deliver the project with your fellow trainees at Edberts House.

The project is suitable for all ages over 16 who are happy to help out at Edberts and Pattinson House. Sessions are on Tuesdays 10.30 to 12.30 starting on 23rd Feb and running for around six weeks.

Register your interest here or email to book a space.

Revised Make It Happen Edberts 2

Make it Happen - Gateshead Artists 2020

Read more about the 2020 collaboration with Gateshead Arts Team in the Case Study

Helix Arts and Gateshead Council joined forces for the third time in June and July 2020 to provide a FREE practical online training and mentoring programme for artists. Make it Happen is a Helix Arts initiative offering a participant-centred programme for artists interested in co-producing community arts projects in Gateshead.

Weekly sessions took place in the summer, followed by free individual mentoring sessions and culminating in the opportunity to pitch for one of two paid commissions to deliver a participatory arts project to benefit Gateshead residents.

After a 7-week training programme and a pitching selection process, two fantastic new projects are being commissioned through the 2020 Make it Happen Gateshead Artists Programme.


Liv Hunt

Our Story

Liv will be running a series of online creative workshops to open up a conversation around what it is like to be an unpaid carer, specifically looking at being an unpaid carer during the global pandemic. Liv and the carers will use creative writing and story-telling as a way of problem solving some of the issues they are currently facing, before collectively playing out and problem-solving some of the issues. At the end there will be an opportunity for the group to share what they’ve created at a showcase with an invited audience. Liv said: “This is absolutely brilliant news! I’m so excited to finally get this project up and running - it’s been a long time in the making! Thank you for […] all your support through the Make it Happen programme.”

Our Story flyer

Sheryl pic

Sheryl Jenkins

Watch This Space

Sheryl who will make animation/s with young people on the theme of environment, aspirations and wellbeing. The project will increase young people’s skills and confidence with film-making, and encourage them to re-connect with nature. Sheryl said: “I’m on a bit of a mission with regards children and young people’s mental health and the impact of the past few months, so I’m pleased to receive the opportunity to deliver my project idea.”

Mariana’s Song

Through Make it Happen Digital project funding we’ve been able to support Woven Nest Theatre to develop Mariana’s Song, a multisensory film made specifically for older people in care homes who may experience sensory deprivation. In 2021 the piece will be piloted in care homes, alongside a multisensory box. Woven Nest will be working with care staff to lead workshops on their behalf. The project is also supported by Sunderland Culture, UNIONarts and Northumbria University.

Watch the trailer for Mariana’s Song

Watch the full Mariana’s Song film

2nd Floor
51 Bedford Street
North Shields
NE29 0AT

Charity no. 700956
Company Reg no. 2114849

Helix Arts is an Artsmark Partner

Helix Arts is an Arts Award Centre

Helix Arts is an Arts Council England NPO