After 11 years of blood, sweat and tears from our founder Mark Prest, we're over the moon to announce that Portraits of Recovery (PORe) is now an Arts Council England NPO.
For those not up on their acronyms, National Portfolio Organisations (NPOs) are handpicked to receive regular funding for three years to cover some, but not all, of their costs.
PORe is amongst a handful of arts organisations that have been chosen by national funder Arts Council England for the valuable impact they make.
It is a very big step for our very little organisation - and shows that we have been recognised by Arts Council England for carrying out nationally important work.
The new funding, which covers the period 2023-26, means PORe is now in a position to run regular programmes throughout the year - and to form new partnerships with other Greater Manchester arts and health organisations.
Amongst our plans for the next three years are:
An annual Recoverists' learning & engagement programme
Our annual Recoverists' learning and engagement programme will offer access to a series of themed, artist-led creative workshops to 10 people in recovery. The programme will support participants' work preparedness, wellbeing, steps to education, volunteering opportunities and social reintegration. The output of each year's programme will be an exhibition in a public space.
The Recoverist Culture Club
The free to join Recoverist Culture Club will increase access to the arts for those in recovery and their friends and family. Members will be invited, twice a month, to free or low cost visits to exhibitions, shows, performances and film screenings around Greater Manchester.
A biannual Recoverist artists’ film & cinema season
A biannual film and cinema season will deliver a pioneering public programme of screenings, workshops and talks in non-traditional spaces around Greater Manchester. The event will be co-curated and produced by a curatorial fellow alongside a group of community Recoverists. It will be delivered alongside a new partner every other year.
International Recovery Month
Each September, PORe will curate a public programme of events, talks and workshops around Greater Manchester to mark International Recovery Month. With partners from the worlds of both the arts and health, we aim to position International Recovery Month alongside established events including Pride and Black History Month.
New artists' commissions
Four artists' commissions are planned for 2023-25. The first will be a major work from Harold Offeh, which explores conversations around chemsex. The practice, which means using drugs as part of your sex life, is most common amongst gay and bisexual men.
Mark said: "Portraits of Recovery changes lives and there is no other organisation like us in the UK.
"Over 11 years, we have delivered award-winning projects with major arts organisations and leading national and international contemporary artists.
"People talk about the transformational power of the arts; PORe's work changes lives by telling stories that challenge the usual clichés surrounding addiction and recovery.
"Now thanks to becoming an Arts Council England NPO, we can grow a larger, more sustainable organisation and provide a year round programme of events that supports emerging artists, offers cultural experiences to people in recovery and commissions challenging artworks for public spaces."
Dave Moutrey, CEO at partner organisation HOME and director of culture for Manchester City Council, said: "I am delighted that Portraits of Recovery has gained NPO status. It enables the organisation to take its vital and artistically exciting work into a new phase, importantly with the certainty and stability that is so essential to ensuring that this work has lasting impact.
"This is a big vote of confidence in the organisation’s work and the leadership of director Mark Prest."
Portraits of Recovery was founded in Greater Manchester in 2011 by Mark Prest, himself a man in recovery.