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Hearts for the Arts Winner: Pokuaa Osei, London Borough of Haringey

Joint winner of the inaugural National Campaign for the Arts/What Next? Hearts for the Arts Awards 2017 for Best Local Authority Arts Champion – Officer.

Pokuaa Osei has worked with FamilyFirstNights (FFN) at Mousetrap Theatre Projects for 11 years. FFN is a unique annual summer programme that offers theatre tickets at £6 to low income and disadvantaged families and provides an enjoyable, worry-free and inclusive experience that encourages the families to become life-long theatregoers.

Throughout the years, Pokuaa has worked tirelessly to support her families through the application process of acquiring the theatre tickets. Many of her families have never been to Central London and have never attended a West End performance. Her leadership and intervention has evidently changed the lives of many young people and brought families together by participating in the FFN programme. This year, her team won the Partner Organisation Award for referring the most families to the programme. She has made a positive impact within her department and her community supporting and encouraging families and individuals to step out of their ‘comfort zone’ to experience all aspects of the Arts.

Pokuaa is an excellent communicator and ambassador of the FFN programme and she continues to support the programme by referring other departments within the council to the FFN programme.

What the judges had to say:

Samuel West, actor and director: “Early years opportunities to experience art are vital; Pokuaa works with Mousetrap to give children the chance to meet live theatre head-on”