I was recently told about a photography exhibition being held in North London which had a very interesting story behind it. It's run by an organisation called Accumul8 which is involved in some fantastic community work in North London. Together with Ravensbourne College and the North London YMCA, they help provide creative training, combined with culinary skills to young vulnerable and homeless people. After contacting them to offer my support in what I thought sounded like a great project, I was invited to the private view of their photography exhibition on 4th June so I offered to do some event photography for them and I also shot a few portraits of the participants.
Below are Levi, TJ and Sam, three of the project participants.
More about Accumul8:
"In July 2013, the North London YMCA contacted the Crouch End Festival. They wanted to explore ways that the two organisations could work together to join the skills and talents of local artists and craftspeople with the creative potential of the young, homeless people living at the NLYMCA hostel.
A meeting was held with the residents and together, they planned to have creative workshops at the hostel and then show the work at The Crouch End Festival.
Funding was needed to pay for materials for the Accumul8 creative workshops. So they decided that the best option, and the one that would have the most benefit, was if Accumul8 made its own money, by producing a product that was cheap to make, desirable and could be easily sold. All of this would be part of the Accumul8 learning process and project journey. The product they decided on was home-made jams and chutneys – the Accumul8 Preserves with a Purpose. The fruit for the preserves is donated from the local community and so people get involved and support Accumul8 via surplus fruit.
The majority of the young people involved with Accumul8 have come from institutionalised backgrounds, including care homes, hostels and youth offender’s prisons and have no previous experience of cooking.
Since 2013, regular photography workshops, supported by Ravensbourne College, have been held with the residents. The Accumul8 photography project, however, is more than just a creative activity. It takes the residents outside of the hostel to observe the world around them, they explore their creativity, work towards an end goal and become part of a team, most importantly it develops their skills and confidence to start on a more positive journey in life. "