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Escape Arts Voices

2022 marks Escape Arts 25th Birthday and to celebrate, we worked with our incredible volunteer Tori Rushton to capture Escape Arts stories and memories from members of the Escape Arts family, past and present.

Through these 12 episodes, we delve into the history of Escape Arts, with our guests sharing some brilliant stories and hopes for the future of Escape Arts. Happy listening!

Episode 1

Miranda Ramphul McCormick

Join us as we have a conversation with Miranda Ramphul McCormick, Escape Arts former Chair of the Board of Trustees. Listen to Miranda recount her memories of Escape Arts from how she got involved to her favourite memories from her time with us.

Episode 2

Karen Williams & Niamh Oldham

This episode features Karen Williams CEO and Niamh Oldham Deputy CEO, listen as they recount the history of Escape Arts giving you an insight on how it was created and the adaptations it has taken over the past 25 years. They share some of their treasured measures from their time spent with Escape Arts as well as discussing what it means to be in control of the future of such an impactful and meaningful charity.

Episode 3

Gill Cleeve

This episode features Gill Cleeve, current mayor of Stratford and Escapes Arts Operations Manager. Gill speaks about how she first got started with Escape Arts and gives an insight into her busy schedule from all the other wonderful organisations and activities she finds the time to be involved with, to her focus on improving the life for the youth of Stratford and how she is able to achieve this.

Episode 4

Sarah Brunsdon & Stella Burton

This episode focuses on the volunteers, with two of our most wonderful volunteers Sarah Brunsdon and Stella Burton. So, join us as we talk about how their time volunteering has impacted both Escape Arts and their own lives. Sharing their most cherished memories of their time with Escape Arts, from VIPs to Paper Moon groups this double act is a treasured staple here at Escape Arts.

Episode 5

Nick McCarthy

This episode Tori is joined in the studio by Escape Arts own Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity (EDI) Lead Nick McCarthy. Nick shares what it means to be an EDI lead and how Escape Arts allows him to work inter connectively to all groups and staff.

He talks about his two main groups he is involved with the first being the transplanted families from Afghanistan Nick does alongside the wonderful Gill Cleeve (Mayor of Stratford-upon-Avon, Escape Arts Health and Safety Lead and previous podcast guest). Providing more than just a friendly face the pair spend their time with the children in play, creating art, English coaching and providing skills to help them succeed. To the wonderful Youth Clubs, he helps manage in Stratford-upon-Avon and how he manages to keep up with all the kids throw at him, he shares a particularly touching moment he recently had with a participant of the older youth club.

Episode 6

Rachel Key

This episode features Rachel Key, CEO of Lifespace Trust. Rachel talks about how Escape Arts became a part of her family life and how this led to her becoming involved with us. From her first toast filled and free flowing tea related memory to helping orchestrate our youth group to perform gospels at the River Festival, even parading fish around the town! One thing is clear from today's conversation and that’s that there is never a dull moment with Escape Arts.

Rachel’s inspiring belief that we can all make life better for ourselves and our neighbours if we all do a little more is something she shares with Escape Arts and something she has stuck too throughout her professional and personal life.

Episode 7

Nancy Adams & Rakha Madahar

From participants to instrumental volunteers Nancy Adams and Rakha Madahar, who make up part of our Nuneaton team, join Tori in this episode where we take a look into the journey and growth of our Nuneaton branch and how Escape Arts groups provide a safe and supportive environment for participants to grow their confidence not just in their creative skills but in their day-to-day life. Taking a journey into what the future may hold not just for Nancy and Rakha, but or Escape Arts as a whole.

Episode 8

Sharon Walpole

Joining Tori in the studio today is Sharon Walpole, the current Co-Chair of Escape Arts. Sharon talks about how her role with Escape Arts, from attending various events to volunteering with our groups until taking her current position.

Hear Sharon’s favourite memories from her time with Escape Arts, like croqueting with our wonderful In Stitches group to driving Santa and his elves Grotto-on the-go around, she talks about the importance of both of these events and how they positively impacted not only herself but also the local community. From adapting and overcoming the Covid lockdowns to what the future holds for Escape Arts Sharon gives an insight into how the reactiveness and passion will keep our charity growing for another 25 years!

Episode 9

Norman & Dianne Lee

This episode features local legends Norman and Dianne Lee, volunteers and group participants. They speak about their close ties to Escape Arts, from the introduction of Norman's mother into our VIPs group to then themselves joining the group and starting to volunteer and Dianne offering her knitting and crochet skills to not just make amazing creations for Escape Arts, but also teaching others.

Norman and Dianne's constant support of Escape Arts has helped us immensely, from helping to fund our new bus to bring cakes and treats to VIPs sessions. They both talk about the admiration they have for Karen Williams, Niamh Oldham and the rest of our in their dedication in bringing workshops and art activities to those who truly need it, providing a much-needed outlet for our participants. These true are truly integral to Escape Arts and our community.

Episode 10

Shirley Pitcher

Shirley Pitcher, VIPs member, joins us in this Voices episode. Shirley talks about how a string of coincidences led to her continued involvement with Escape Arts, starting with our D-Day remembrance film and presentation of medals to being family friends with Karen William's father for 40 years not realising the relation! All of these have led to her becoming part of the Escape Arts community and sharing her knowledge and stories with the VIPs group.

Episode 11

Jake Hill

In this episode, Tori is joined by Jake Hill, one of our wonderful volunteers, who has been involved with Escape Arts since 2008! From being taught how to crochet in our In Stitches group to heading to Weston-Super-Mare to create a donkey made from the rubbish they collected on the beach, Jake has seen and done a lot in his 14 years with Escape Arts.

From his time as a group participant to a crucial part of our volunteer team, he speaks about how Escape Arts has given him more opportunities to become more cultured and how with the same attitude Escape Arts can thrive for another 25 years at least!

Episode 12

Sharon Round

In this episode, Tori is joined by Sharon Round, Escape Arts partner, who started working alongside us in setting up and managing our holiday club in Lower Quinten which later led to full wrap around care.

She talks about how working with Escape Arts there is always a project or group to fully embrace yourself with, and in doing so grow as a person alongside Escape Arts. From skip diving with Karen to seeing youth members grow into trustees it’s safe to say that Sharon has greatly enjoyed her time working alongside Escape Arts.

Episode 13

Joe Moore

In our final episode of Voices, Tori is joined by Joe Moore, volunteer. Joe shares his start with fiddling in the local string orchestra leading to his rise into the most willing volunteer who's always willing to get dressed up.

From Santa to Victorian swimsuit, Joe ensures that he adds the extra flare to every Escape Arts event he’s been involved with. Listen as Joe takes you on a journey from hilarious story to hilarious story of all his favourite memories of Escape Arts, highlighting how important it is for people to come out to meet new people and creating something with their own hands to turning Stratford's highstreets into art galleries thanks to our shop front displays.