UK: Martin Parr debuts a new collection showcasing community life in the UK

Martin Parr, one of the world’s most celebrated photographers, has unveiled a new online exhibition of images, entitled ‘Community Spirit – a digital exhibition by Martin Parr’, that offers his own unique perspective on community life in the UK in 2016. From an old soldiers’ tea party in Colchester, to a women’s football team in Camden and a circus skills club in a rural village in South Wales, the images provide a snapshot of the diverse grassroots groups and clubs in action across the UK. ‘Community Spirit’ has been created to provide a glimpse into the often unseen, always inspiring work of community groups to mark the launch of the 2016 Aviva Community Fund.

With his work having been exhibited in 80 exhibitions worldwide including the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art in New York and London’s Tate Modern, Martin Parr is regarded as the quintessential photographer of everyday British life. For ‘Community Spirit’ he visited five of the 431 groups who benefitted from the Aviva Community Fund in 2015.

  • A wartime afternoon tea and concert for veterans by The Not Forgotten Association in Colchester 
  • A Friday night circus skills class for local children held in a converted church hall in rural South Wales by Organised Kaos 
  • The excitement of over 400 primary school children attending a tag rugby tournament organised by Cramlington Rocket Community, the community arm of a Northumberland rugby league team
  • A Thursday night training session for the ladies of Camden Town F.C. in North London
  • The weekly dress rehearsal of the Loxley Silver Band in Sheffield

Now in its second year, the Aviva Community Fund is an initiative that lends a hand to local communities by offering support and funding for local causes. Members of the community can submit an idea that will make a real difference to a local group or charity they’re passionate about, with the chance to secure funding ranging from up to £1,000 to £25,000.

The collection, which marks the launch of the Aviva Community Fund 2016, reflects the generosity and compassion of local community groups across the UK, with new research from Aviva revealing that 43% of Britons have previously helped out with a local group, of which 55% have lent their support in the last year.

However, when 70% claim that community spirit is not as strong as it used to be and almost half (47%) believe that a lack of funding for local community organisations is a real concern for their community’s wellbeing, supporting local groups has never been so important.

Martin Parr, Photographer, said: “Throughout my career I’ve travelled all over the UK, capturing the hidden stories and the beauty in the ordinary and everyday. This was an exciting project because it gave both me and the viewer access to the extraordinary work undertaken by groups that form the fabric of their local community.

It was a privilege to meet and capture the inspiring people behind these projects, many of whom are working in challenging circumstances. Even a small amount of support from initiatives can help make a huge difference and enable these groups to continue and grow.”

Lindsay Forster, UK and Ireland Customer Marketing Director at Aviva, said: “This photography gives just a tiny glimpse into the inspiring work of community groups across the UK.

“Our research shows that almost half of the British public feel that a lack of funding for local community organisations is a concern for their community, which demonstrates the real need to get behind local initiatives.

“The power to make a difference is in the British public’s hands. From today, anyone in the UK* can nominate a community group, club or charity for funding from the Aviva Community Fund. The different levels of funding ranging from £1,000 to £25,000 mean that everyone has the chance to make a difference to their local community and support a cause close to their heart.

“More than 430 organisations were awarded funding from the Aviva Community Fund last year, and as you can see from Martin’s images, a real variety of different local groups benefitted. We look forward to seeing the projects that enter this year.”

Parr has also shared his expertise on how to take photographs in a unique and compelling way to really bring a story to life. His advice, along with tips from other experts, forms part of an online toolkit that those entering the Aviva Community Fund can use to enhance their entry and to help drive awareness of the ongoing work their group does in the local area throughout the year.

To view Martin’s photographs, hear his top tips or to enter the 2016 Aviva Community Fund, visit: www.aviva.co.uk/community-fund

-ENDS-

Media Enquiries - For more information please contact:
Naomi Pedlow / 0203 128 6345 / AvivaCommunityEngine@enginegroup.com

Notes to editors:

* The UK, for the purposes of the Aviva Community Fund, comprises of England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Channel Islands, Isle of Man and Northern Isles. This is different to the geographic definition of the UK.

About Martin Parr:

Martin Parr is a photographer, editor, curator and collector. He is often described as a chronicler of our age as his photographs offer the viewer the opportunity to see the world from his unique perspective which is original and entertaining, accessible and understandable. He has published over 80 books of his own work and edited another 25. He often promotes new photographers, for example in his roles as the artistic director of the Arles Festival and the Brighton Photo Biennial.

Further information about the five community groups Martin shot as part of the launch of the 2016 Aviva Community Fund:

  • The Not Forgotten Association - a community group that organises leisure and recreation activities for serving and ex-service men and women who are wounded or have disabilities. The wartime concert Martin attended is a direct result of the funds that the group secured through the Aviva Community Fund last year
  • Organised Kaos – a social enterprise that provides circus skills training for adults and children in rural South Wales. The Aviva Community Fund meant that they have been able to purchase acrobatics equipment to put on more classes for their community
  • Camden Town F.C. – a ladies football club that encourages women to get involved in football and the funding from Aviva broke down financial barriers to the sport, for young women in the area, by allowing the participants to play for free
  • Cramlington Rockets Community – a community arm of a local rugby team that encourages young people to take an interest in sport. Since their successful Aviva Community Fund application, they’ve been able to engage hundreds more children with the sport
  • Loxley Silver Band – a community brass band that has been running in the Sheffield area since 1889. Receiving funding from Aviva has helped them cover running costs such as hiring rehearsal space, uniforms and instrument maintenance

About the Aviva Community Fund:

The Aviva Community Fund is an initiative that lends a helping hand to local communities by offering support and funding for inspirational local causes. Projects could receive funding of from up to £1,000 up to £25,000. To get involved, submit a project or vote visit www.aviva.co.uk/community-fund.

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