May 2021 Update

And just like that June has arrived! May has been another super busy month for Accumulate so its the perfect time to look back at what we have been up to!

Two New Accumulate Art Kits

Our Accumulate Art Kit project is going strong with two fantastic workshops running, the first being a session around ‘Identity’, Participants created portraits about their own identity and the different layers that make us who we are. This kit was created by photographer Alejandra Carles-Tolra working with Autograph gallery and their incredible archive. We had some fantastic pieces created by residents of homeless hostels in Cornwall and London. You can view the whole gallery HERE.

Artwork by resident of Harbour Housing, St Austell

Our second kit launch this month is called ‘Design Your Own Patch’ and was designed by our friends at Museum of Youth Culture. Patches have been used for generations to show off their identity and interests to the world. Sewn onto jackets, bags and jeans, people have patches for the musicians they love, events they have been to and the campaigns they support. Our ‘Train the Trainer’ session on this kit was a great success with hostel workers being guided through the workshop & creating their own design so they are equipped to get creative with their own clients. Keep an eye on the gallery HERE for all the new designs coming through along with some fantastic inspirational images.

Train the Trainer session for ‘Design Your Own Patch’ Art Kit

Accumulate at the Barbican

Our group have been lucky enough to spend time at the Barbican Centre in person again this month. We are so happy to see this incredible space open again and to be able to spend time together again as a group after so long is just incredible. Our Advertising campaign workshop continued with the Lego brief set by D&AD. We were joined by fantastic guest speakers Paul & Danielle from We Are Social who spoke to the group about using social media to make an advertising campaign inlcuidng virtual shops and also going lo tech and just using a phone to produce really creative solutions. We were also joined by Jack Pryor from Unexpected Mini Figures who talked about the joy of Lego play and inspired everyone to get building and creating. We are so grateful to have this level of skill and expertise on our workshops.

Photo Credit: Fiona Quadri

Our group were also delighted to attend the private view event of the Jean Debuffet exhibition ‘Brutal Beauty’ at the Barbican. This was the first day museums were able to open again after the lockdown so was really special to feel so inspired as a group together again. The exhibition is fantastic, highly recommended if you get the chance to go.

Accumulate gang at Debuffet exhibition, The Barbican

Marice Cumber on the May Contain Podcast

We were so excited to see Accumulate founder and Director Marice Cumber feature on the May Contain podcast hosted by Daniel Kelly. talking about her own mental health struggles and how it inspired the founding of Accumulate, using creativity to empower people affected by homelessness. Download and listen HERE!

It’s great to be working with Dan again. We first collaborated back in 2019 working with him and the Ted Baker team on a series of fashion workshops culminating in a fantastic fashion show. Dan is doing wonderful work raising awareness and breaking the stigma around allergies. Take a look at this Instagram account HERE.

New Stockist for Book of Homelessness

We are so happy to see our first publication Book of Homelessness find a new stockist in Artwords Bookshop in Broadway Market. You can read more about this project and get your own copy HERE. All profits from the book are split with its authors, so they can earn from their creativity and Accumulate so we can continue to provide creative workshops for people affected by homelessness.


Podcasting Skills

A new project we are working on in conjunction with St Johns Waterloo is a Podcasting course. Accumulate participants will be creating a podcast about Waterloo’s cardboard city in the 90’s and homelessness today. This podcast will be broadcast as part of the Waterloo Festival next year. Watch this space!


It really was a busy one! Thanks for reading along and your continuing support for Accumulate. Enjoy the sunshine!



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Accumulate Art Kits are Expanding!

With funding secured from The National Lottery Community Fund and Foundation for FutureLondon we have been able to expand our Accumulate Art Kit offering to homeless hostels right across the United Kingdom.

Train the Trainer Sessions

To accompany the kits we have also been able to introduce ‘Train the Trainer’ sessions. These sessions, which are held via Zoom,  train support workers within the hostels so they can deliver their own creative workshops to their residents using the Accumulate Art Kits.

Our first ‘Train the Trainer’ session on Zoom

Our First Session

The first of these sessions was held in early March this year. Led by Claire Cheung and Emelie Helsen,  this session included how to deliver a workshop to a group, getting everyone involved and therefore building the support workers confidence to lead their own workshops. We have had really positive feedback from this first session with the hostel support workers sharing their experiences and learning with and from each other!

With this training in mind, hostels then delivered their own workshops to residents. The brief for this Art Kit was to create a cover of a magazine called ‘Emotion’.  ‘A magazine all about people and their feelings. The best covers are those that show a simple idea delivered in a bold and compelling way. Words and images will be combined to deliver your emotion.’  The artwork coming through is just incredible…..


Check out even more of these powerful artworks produced so far HERE on our Padlet page!


We have received the most wonderful and affirming feedback  from Sharon, a hostel support worker at P3 charity, who delivered the “Emotion Magazine Cover” art kit activity to residents at her hostel.

“The benefits have been wonderful, this will have been influenced by the cleverly designed first project.  The emotion magazine cover gave the clients an opportunity to explore their emotions and they all did this in different ways, it definitely turned into an art therapy session which the clients seemed to naturally turn it into and it was my pleasure to be part of the process.  For one particular client this project has been a bit of a lifeline, it has given him something to anchor to.  His mental health had been decreasing rapidly following a move to independent accommodation and his mental health was getting worse. He is very chaotic and it calmed him a little, gave him a focus to come back to and it has not just given him something positive to do but because I encouraged him to do happy as the emotion, whenever he picks up the project he thinks positively.

Another client picked an emotion he had felt in the past when he felt out of control and it was really useful for him to be able to explore this, as he was in a better place and he was able to process this from a distance, it then served as a reminder of the journey he has been on and how he has managed to overcome his emotions.  It also reminded him of how important all the little things that he had done to ensure he continues to look after his emotional health.

Another client has just lost his mum and the art work gave him the opportunity to talk through these very difficult feelings, this client can be very heightened, but the calmness that came over him whilst he was deciding what to do and playing with ideas was incredible.  He also had a lovely sense of achievement when he completed it.”

20 hostels are now taking part!

We are thrilled to have 20 hostels join us on this project, stretching far and wide from Cornwall to Kent! We are so happy this project can reach more people affected by homelessness find support and empowerment through the medium of creativity.

Our next session starts at the beginning of April working with our friends from Autograph and tutor Alejandra Carles-Tolra.





The Book of Homelessness Launches!

The Book of Homelessness is the first ever graphic novel created by people affected by homelessness that tells the stories of their lives.

The book of homelessness cover

“This is a remarkable collection in any context. The fact that these beautiful, personal works are the expressions of our neighbours who are homeless makes it untenable to ignore them ever again.”
Colin Firth

Accumulate is really so very proud to say that The Book of Homelessness will be published on November 19th 2020 and is now available to purchase.

The Accumulate Book of Homelessness project started in January with a series of writing, drawing and illustration workshops that were held at the Autograph gallery in Shoreditch. These workshops enabled the Accumulate participants, who came from hostels, shelters and temporary accommodation, to explore their own narratives and build up the skills and confidence to communicate their stories and experiences visually and in the written form.

The group very quickly began to bond and form a community. Every single participant was eager to tell their story and how it affected who they were. The stories that they produced are personal, raw and honest. They are of pain, of abuse, of dysfunction, of families, of war, of rejection, of misplaced love, of overcoming difficulties and of fighting and succeeding.

Together these stories show the complexities of homelessness, what causes it and the struggles that people have undertaken.

The illustrations, photographs and words are sensitive and emotional.  They communicate the conflicts, loneliness and abandonment felt by the authors.

The Book of Homelessness is a powerful and beautiful book. It will be published, as a limited edition, on November 19th 2020 and can also be pre-ordered here.

All profits from sales of the book will be shared with its authors and Accumulate so it can continue to provide creative workshops for people who are homeless. We really hope that you can buy this book and be inspired by the stories, talents and integrity of the Accumulate participants.

Mayor’s Special Fund Appeal – 2020/21

Accumulate selected for support by Haringey’s Mayor Elect Adam Jogee


We are beyond thrilled to tell you that Accumulate has been chosen by Haringey Council’s newly appointed Mayor Elect Adam Jogee as one of his chosen charities to support this coming year via the Mayor’s Special Fund Appeal. We so pleased to be selected  alongside other amazing local charities, PramDepot and Friends of Hornsey Tower.  We are so so humbled & thankful.

Picture: Cllr Adam Jogee

Accumulate all started in Crouch End at the YMCA back in 2013, with our first photography workshops & exhibition. Four of their residents have gone on to win scholarships to attend the Access course at Ravensbourne University in London and three of them have since gone onto continue their creative education even further on degree courses.
We are so proud of what all our participants and what they have achieved and will continuously set our sights high for an exciting future! Huge thank’s again Mayor Elect Adam Jogee!

Create Change Project

A Series of Workshops

September 2020 brought our newest collaboration, the Create Change Project, kindly funded and supported by the innovation foundation Nesta. With our base at Union Chapel in Islington, we set up our ‘Art School for the Homeless’ pop up. This was our first face to face but socially distanced series of workshops to run since March and it was great to be back together again after so long.

Photo credit: Ben Peters

Climate Change

Our subject was Climate Change. We gathered as a group to collectively discuss the climate change crisis & it’s impact. Along with this we talked about the financial aspects of poverty & how it directly affects the choices you can make from an environmental point of view. We worked using art, illustration, poetry and creative writing, so many creative mediums to help to express opinions and points of view in our group. Working with an amazing group of tutor Tori Taiwo, Williamz Omope and Liv Wynter, our group was able to form a creative community with the freedom to discuss ideas of how to create change.

Photo Credit: Ben Peters


Photo credit: Ben Peters

The incredible creative responses created by our group are currently being digitalised for an online exhibition that will be hosted on the Nesta website very soon. Watch this space!

A Creative Community

This series of workshops was a great opportunity for all our participants, some of whom this was their first taste of an Accumulate workshop, to really connect, support each other and find purpose. People who didn’t know each other have formed teams to work together with great energy & group dynamic. So proud of what we have created together!

Photo credit: Ben Peters

Huge thanks to Nesta and Union Chapel for your support.


Accumulate Art Kits – Update!

The Accumulate Art School for the Homeless has been kept very busy during these difficult and uncertain times. We thought it would be a great time to update you on what we have been up to!

Our creative workshops stopped in mid March (just before official lockdown).  We made a decision that we could not risk anything due to the living and health circumstances of our participants. However, we knew that stopping our creative workshops meant far more than just a weekly activity for the Accumulate participants. We would also be stopping a community, friendships, purpose and learning for people who are very vulnerable, at risk, isolated and living in very dire situations. So, we pivoted very quickly and made a decision to move to online activities.  We also planned to send out art kits with all the materials and instructions for specific art activities to all our participants.

Through their involvement in the Accumulate Art Kit project the participants could continue to engage, belong and progress on their creative learning journey and be part of the Accumulate creative community.

An Accumulate workshop pre lockdown.

Creativity during Lockdown

The first Accumulate Art Kit activity launched at the start of lockdown on 23rd March and had a really really positive reaction. The participants were excited to get something, a kin to a special gift in the post. Because of how the Art Kit has been curated and put together, along with the design of the kit itself, it made them feel valued and an important part of Accumulate and motivated to engage. We used WhatsApp to keep in touch with the group, coupled with Skype and Zoom for the workshops. We also created step by step films online and every kit also had full instructions so the participant could take part in their own time.

Support for our project

Off the back of this pilot activity, we received funding from CrisisThe RSA, LandAid and others to expand the Accumulate Art Kit project across London. So far, we have sent out over 2500 Accumulate Art Kits to people who are living in hostels and emergency accommodation in London and who want to do something creative at this time. All of these are delivered by a magnificent crew of local Accumulate community volunteers!

The Tottenham & Harringey Accumulate Art Kit volunteer delivery crew!

Art Kit Contents

The Accumulate Art Kit project is a mammoth planning, purchasing and packing task but one that is really bringing creative learning out to people who are so restricted, are suffering from poor mental health and lack of wellbeing and have so little to engage them at this time as all hostel activities having been stopped. So far the Accumulate Art Kits have included collage, animation, felt making, tapestry, self portraits and drawing activities.

Accumulate Art Kit

Accumulate Art Kit complete with snacks for concentration!

Future Plans

Obviously, none of us knows how long the current situation will last for.  We will be continuing to send out the Accumulate Art Kits and doing online workshops until we can get back to being able to run the actual creative workshops. We have also continued to run the Accumulate podcasting workshops. This group meets online weekly and are putting together the content for “News for the Unconnected” – audio broadcasts about being homeless during CV-19 and the support that is available to this group.

The Accumulate podcast News for The Unconnected workshop delivered via Skype

Like everyone, we are keen to get back to face to face Accumulate creative workshops and activities and also to have the postponed Accumulate exhibition and launch of The Book of Homelessness.

It may not be until 2021 but it will happen and until then we will be, as usual, continuing to innovate and improve homeless people’s lives through creativity and creative learning and which is needed so much at this time.

Get in touch!

Please do email if you have any questions about the Accumulate Art Kit project. If you do want to support the Accumulate Art Kit project you can do so by clicking here.

With every best wish and stay well,

The Accumulate Team

Creativity in the time of Coronavirus

In these critical times, lockdown continues across most of the world. Life, as we all know it, has paused and the majority of us are confined to our homes. We are a small charity and we support people affected by homelessness. A safe place to call home is out of reach for our participants. Living in hostels or temporary accommodation, the negative effects of isolation and loneliness on mental wellbeing can only increase the anxiety and extreme vulnerability felt in what is an already incredibly stressful and uncertain situation.

A Creative Community

We have worked so hard to create a supportive community amongst our group since our course started. We don’t want to lose this because of this ever-changing situation. So, we have taken our creative workshops online, continuing to connect our group virtually!

Accumulate 100 Challenge

Accumulate tutor Soofiya Chaudry developed a challenge for our group to complete but anyone can take part! Why not give it a go?  A list of 100 prompts from which to complete 100 drawings. There are no rules, draw in colour or black & white, sketches can be as weird & wonderful as you like! Why not share them with us? Click here to get involved.

Amazing artwork from our 100 Challenge!

Art Challenges

Every week we gather together our group via WhatsApp and Zoom and set a variety of creative challenges from photography to illustration. Sharing the results with the group and chatting together gives a great sense of togetherness and support. Huge thanks to Accumulate tutor Tori Taiwo and Ravensbourne University for your time and support to this workshop.

An image shared by our group as part of the Accumulate photo challenge


It was amazing to have this feedback during one of our online challenges……one participant said ‘‘Creating takes my mind to a goooood place…!”

Podcast Training

After the success of our podcast series Sound Judgement, we are so keen to keep this training running. The visible joy of learning can be seen on our participant’s faces here, continuing our podcast training via Skype. The group are currently working on a news podcast by and for people affected by homelessness providing much need support at this critical time. With big thanks to Williamz Omope, Greenwich Digital Skills and Ravensbourne University.

Podcast Training via Skype!

Art kits by post

Receiving a parcel in the post has been a great way to stay connected with our group. We send a creative activity along with some snacks to keep energised. Something for each person to look forward to and an activity to keep busy and pass the time.

This venture has been so kindly funded by Crisis UK’s Emergency Fund. Enabling us to buy more kits and in turn support more people affected by homelessness to find some positivity through creativity. With this funding, it has meant that we have been able to support Jolt, an art studio based in Shropshire that supports adults with mental health challenges through art and design projects. We have included one of Jolt’s beautiful felting kits in this week’s parcel. We are so happy we have been able to do good twice, supporting Jolt through purchasing their kit and providing an activity to those who are homeless, isolated and extra vulnerable at this time.

Art activity parcel including felt set by Jolt. Funded by Crisis UK


We have had requests now for over 200 of the Accumulate art kits from hostels. We will have an online exhibition space for everyone to connect to and enjoy what the group has achieved.

Zine of Love

A new project in the pipeline, working with our group creatively online, is a new Accumulate zine. ‘Zine of Love’ will be run by the Accumulate tutor, visual artist & illustrator Soofiya Chaudry. Using illustrations and creative writing produced by the group, recording their experiences in this difficult time.


We will continue to share and celebrate all our group’s creativity over the weeks to come on social media. Please do follow along. Hoping to bring strength and support to our own creative community.

Stay safe

Accumulate x







Accumulate gets National Lottery Funding!

Accumulate wins National Lottery Funding

This week we got a most glorious email in the post telling us that we have won National Lottery Funding to run our Photography workshops next year. Winning funding like this is a real endorsement and celebration of our work, how what we do helps vulnerable young people to improve their lives and the difference creativity makes to them and their futures, so this totally made our day!

Accumulate gets National Lottery Funding!

Accumulate gets National Lottery Funding!

Along with this bumper news, the second issue of the Accumulate DECAY zine has been printed and is even better than we had expected!

Every zine is mega packed with amazing images, words, poems, designs and photographs made by 21 young people who took part in the Accumulate zine workshops and who live at the Evolve Housing hostel in Stockwell, South London. And as usual, every DECAY zine we sell will help fund our future creative workshops at hostels.

You can get DECAY at Youth Sub Culture‘s shop at 3 Carnaby St, Carnaby, London W1F 9PB and we will also be selling DECAY at events and zine fairs in the lead up to Christmas. The next zine fair we will be at is Cultural Traffic on 8th October at Kachette, 347 Old Street, EC1 VLP.

Please do follow us on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts to get ongoing details and info on where Accumulate will be selling. We are also going to be producing t.shirts, tote bags, posters and badges with designs from DECAY in the lead up to Christmas – so please think of Accumulate and the difference you can make by getting all of your groovy Christmas gifts from us.

Issue 2 of DECAY

Issue 2 of DECAY


And here are the Accumulate DECAY art prints being printed – looking good and the perfect Christmas gift for all the family!!









Crep Protect and The Accumul8 Scholarship

Crep Protect is a cool company, they are even cooler as they are changing someone’s life by funding a scholarship for an Accumul8 participant to study on the year-long Access to HE course in design and digital media at Ravensbourne College. We asked them why and this is what they said….. (we love them even more now!)

“Crep Protect, created by 3 brothers from London’s district of Kingsbury, 3 brothers who had a simple desire to keep their sneakers fresh and to share the product with close friends/family and maybe a few retailers.
From humble beginnings – self-funded, even when there were no funds available, to now just a few years later, to where the business currently stands, distributed in 52 countries and retailed in the most exclusive sneaker boutiques as well as all of the major players.

The reason that Crep Protect gets involved in opportunities such as this is because to a man, we have on occasion been paper close to losing everything that we have, we have been in the situation where you feel lost and helpless, yearning for someone to care, for someone to give you just a little lift, to get you off your knees and get you moving forward.
We know that feeling of everything being lost, so we know that if we can do something good for someone else, for no reason other than the fact that we can, that we should, then maybe someone else will do the same.
When we are up and running, when we are doing well, we should never forget to look around, to look and see who needs that little nudge, that opportunity to show that they are worthy, that they are talented and that they should not be measured by the situation that they find themselves in.
This is why we care – because it very easily could be any of us.”

So, if anyone out there relates to Crep Protect’s story and wants to help, feels inspired and can change a young, homeless person’s life by helping to fund an Accumul8 scholarship then we would love to hear from you, and you can find out more on our pledges page here




Shoreditch Shoots and the Accumul8 Gang

This week we went to Autograph’s premises in Shoreditch. It is the home of the Association of Black Photographers and we were really privileged to be shown the archive of photographs by black and diverse photographers, hear about the organisation and learn about a wealth of photographic work with huge cultural and historical importance.

Ali Eissa from Autograph in Shoreditch shows off the wonders of their archive to the Accumul8 participants.

Ali Eissa from Autograph in Shoreditch shows off the wonders of their archive to the Accumul8 participants.

About 95% of Accumul8’s participants this year are from Black and Ethnic Minority backgrounds and so this visit and significant relevance and importance to them and was something that they could all relate to.

The amazing and inspirational Gisela Torres then led the photography workshop around the streets of Shoreditch, with the students from Ravensbourne assisting and supporting the Accumul8 participants to take the best possible shots in the lead up to their exhibition at The Guardian.

Goda from Ravensbourne, Younnes from Freedom from Torture and Geron from East London YMCA on the Accumul8 Shoreditch Shoot.

Goda from Ravensbourne, Younnes from Freedom from Torture and Geron from East London YMCA on the Accumul8 Shoreditch Shoot.

The participants, who are from 9 different hostels across London, are now friends with each other, sharing their images and being open about their work and aspirations within the project. It is so amazing how the impact of this project goes beyond learning about photography and encourages confidence, communication skills and pride in the participants.

Gisela Torres, an Accumul8 tutor, shares her photography wisdom and skills with Jay and Alex, two Accumul8 participants on the Shoreditch Shoots photography workshop.

Gisela Torres, an Accumul8 tutor, shares her photography wisdom and skills with Jay and Alex, two Accumul8 participants on the Shoreditch Shoots photography workshop.