IdeasTap Chairman, Founder and principle funder Peter De Haan on who IdeasTap supports as a charity and why...
In short: we exist to support creative people at the start of their careers, because there’s a clear need and we think we can help.
The longer answer begins with the Peter De Haan Charitable Trust (PDHCT), which was founded in 1999 to improve the quality of life for people and communities in the UK, originally focusing on supporting environmental and social-welfare activity. In late 2008, during the financial crash, the PDHCT trustees became concerned about the impact the oncoming economic slump would have on opportunities for young people leaving education. We were particularly worried about those about to embark on a creative career, knowing the competition for work that already existed in the sector.
So we decided to create an arts programme called IdeasTap, focusing on supporting young people in the early stages of their creative careers, as part of PDHCT. We made this decision because we wanted to maximise our investment’s long-term benefit to society. We also decided to concentrate our support on projects and ideas that were innovative, to encourage the entrepreneurship needed to return the country to economic growth.
IdeasTap has grown quickly since 2008 and, consequently, in April 2010 we launched it as a charitable entity separate from PDHCT, to allow it to continue to grow. Currently, however, PDHCT continues to be the principle funder of IdeasTap and therefore IdeasTap has to negotiate the terms of its activity with PDHCT.
People sometimes ask why some of IdeasTap’s opportunities target particular age groups. Aside from PDHCT’s policy of investing in young people, and the disproportionally high figures for 16-25s out of work, another factor initially was the high-profile organisations we partnered with to offer our members opportunities. Some of these organisations focus on particular age groups, often because their own funding is provided on this basis.
Over time, however, we've responded to feedback and opened more of what we offer to people up to the age of 30 and begun to work with organisations that don't focus on age. We’ve also commissioned thousands of articles relevant to people of any age starting out in the arts. And that’s a key point – there’s a huge volume of content, resources and opportunities on IdeasTap that members of any age can benefit from, including the IdeasTap Spa, our jobs page, IdeasMag, our external funding section and our networking and portfolio functionality.
We know that it's hard to kick-off a career in the arts, and we don't assume that because you're 31 you've made it, or that you’re over the hill. But we believe we can achieve more through our funding programme if it’s focused. On exactly the same basis we decided to focus solely on UK residents and arts projects. We understand that none of this helps our older members who want to apply for specific funds and opportunities with age-limits, but we want to be transparent about why our funding is targeted.
Even if you aren’t eligible for our funding programme, we hope you will consider contributing to our network with your creativity and talent, and that our site helps you to connect with an opportunity, event, job, article, person or external fund that supports your creative career.