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Funding Success for The Outsiders Project

Funding Success for The Outsiders Project

We are delighted to share a success story for the project The Outsiders Project, which has just been awarded £175,000 to deliver creative activities for people in Boscombe, struggling with their health and well-being.

The project is run by a partnership between us and the community development trust Recreate Dorset.  The new funding will support a five year creative community programme and will employ a new Project Coordinator who will be managing an exciting programme of workshops, mentoring and training from the community hub and BEAF HQ, The Old School House on Gladstone Road, Boscombe.

Giving a voice to the unheard

The Outsiders team are already providing creative writing workshops which provide a weekly space for people to meet.  The workshops provide a creative outlet to help participants deal with some of the everyday issues caused by managing health problems, which may stem from previous drug and alcohol abuse or because of mental health and other health problems. The workshops provide a place to build up a support network and develop new skills.

The new funding will allow more workshops to be offered, both during the day and the evening and gives security for the project for the five years so people signing up can benefit from the long term investment that has been kindly offered from The National Lottery Community Fund.

A lifeline throughout lockdown

Despite the pandemic, The Outsiders Project has provided a lifeline during lockdown, continuing to support those in most need who have become isolated and unable to leave their homes. Interim support from Lottery Community Fund and Arts Council England has meant the workshops have gone online. An outcome from the workshops has been an exhibition of writing and images that can be found currently in the windows of our B.A.D., Boscombe Arts Depot, along Boscombe precinct.

What to find out more?

For more information on how to join the workshops and find out about the new programme of online and other activities email The Outsiders Project Director, Nell Leyshon here

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Join our 2021 Volunteer Programme

Join our BEAF 2021 Volunteer Programme

BEAF volunteers are the bedrock of what we do. From our amazing steering committee who meet online every fortnight throughout the year to plan and deliver exciting creative projects in the local community, to the ever growing list of amazing people who help out at our BEAF festival every year.

Each year, we provide a volunteer programme leading up to the festival for anyone who wants to get involved, earn some new skills and meet some like-minded people from the local area!

“Through volunteering at BEAF I was able to express my creativity and meet with the local community. I’m so glad I volunteered!” 

What you will do

We love to involve local people who know about the area and who can give information to visitors but also there are a variety of roles we need people to help us with.  The list is long but it might include:

  • * looking after an exhibition or venue,
  • * front of house duties,
  • * distributing programmes
  • * and generally helping out where needed!

Join our 2021 Online Volunteer Programme

This year, we will be running online training sessions on the last Wednesday of each month. This training will be invaluable for volunteering at the BEAF festival in 2021 as well as provide transferable skills for working in the events industry. Each session will cover a specific topic introduced by our training team with targeted exercises designed to support your learning, and guest speakers from industry. The sessions will last between 1 hour and 1.5 hours and is totally free to attend! 


Drop us a line here and you’ll be invited to join our introductory Zoom meeting on Wednesday 27th January to meet Caroline Johnston and Lucy Turner who will be your main point of contact on the run up to the festival.

Don’t forget to follow us on social media for our latest updates. You can find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram


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Enter the Pests Pet Show with your Hot Dog!

Enter The Pests Pet Show!

Commissioned BEAF artists from Pests Production have launched an awesome new project and we want you and your furry friends to be a part of it!

What is it?
The Pests Pet Show is running until 16th December to raise money for the Albert Kennedy Trust (AKT). This show is a chance for people to show off their pets from the comfort of their own home, in a variety of class categories. Simply send in a picture of your best friend, whether you think they’re the top rescue animal, most gorgeous pup, or have a habit of pulling ridiculous faces. There’s a whole range of classes to enter!
Seeing as how everyone’s stuck inside this year, we thought this would be a fun way to all come together, whilst also getting the chance to look at adorable animals, which we could probably all use right about now!
  1. Every class has a guest judge, and the chance to win rosettes from 1st to 6th place.
  2. All those who win first in their class automatically get entered into our free championship class, where there’s the chance to win Show Champion & Reserve Champion.
  3. All classes cost £1 per entry, and 100% of the money given goes directly to AKT.
Dachshunds get free entry to the BEAF Hot Dog Show!
As well as this, any Dachshund who enters any class is automatically added into the free BEAF Hot Dog! show. This class was inspired by BEAF’s 2019 Dachshund Dash, and we’d love to see just as many mini friends join in as they did at their spectacular event last year! The winner of Hot Dog will receive a large champion rosette, but there can be only one weiner!
Who are Pest Production? Here’s Sophia to explain more:
Pests decided to run this show since we couldn’t get out and do our regular programme of Theatre and Drag nights. Usually, Pests put on shows across the South West, with a range of artists and themes, and work with local, national, and international artists. This year, with us all stuck indoors, we wanted a way to bring some joy to the community, and raise funds for a good cause. AKT helps homeless LGBTQ+ youth to get off the streets and into safe housing, where they are given training and opportunities to get them into work. We are really looking forward to being a part of the BEAF 2021 festival next year. In the meantime, share your pets in the Pests Pet Show!
How to enter

Either send your pictures via Facebook messenger to the Pests’ page, or email them to Please do not send them to individual Pest members or judges, as they will not be entered. You can enter classes as many times as you like, just be sure to provide:

  • Your pet’s name and age
  • Which class(es) you’re entering
  • Proof of your entry payments, in the form of a donation receipt/ screenshot from
  • All classes cost £1 per entry, and 100% of the money given goes directly to AKT.
  • All entry fees must be paid to our Just Giving page. If you have any questions, give the Pests team a shout and they will be sure to help you out.
  • Class details and more information can be found here

Deadline for entries 16th December 2020

Good luck to everyone!
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The day the elves came to B.A.D.

We heard a local theatre company Treehouse Theatre were in need of a space to rehearse and perform their latest COVID-safe theatre piece, aimed at young families across Bournemouth. So naturally, we offered them use of our new theatre space in the heart of our B.A.D. building, created by The Outsiders Project.

We caught up with Louisa Lindsey-Clark from Treehouse Theatre to chat more about elves, kindness and family in the lead up to Christmas.

Hi Louisa! Tell us a bit more about your theatre company

Treehouse Theatre are mostly a theatre in education company, based in Bournemouth. We’ve been around for 15 years now. We visit primary schools, special schools, and during the holidays we perform in family venues such as museums, libraries and festivals. Every year we tour a pantomime – truly the highlight of the year! This year we decided to postpone ‘Goldilocks’ till 2021, and write a special show just for the rather unusual times we find ourselves in!

Ah… so this where the elves come in!

Yes! The Elves and the Shoemakers is a Covid-safe show with themes of kindness and neighbourliness which feel so relevant this year, and bursting with the energy, joy and magic of live theatre. Interactive as ever, the whole audience become part of a heart-warming tale of giving and sharing, elfin antics and shoe-tapping music-making, and – of course – saving the world!

Sounds great fun! How has the COVID situation affected your performances?

We designed the whole show to be COVID-safe – short performances without intervals, guitars and drums rather than wind instruments, clapping and dance moves to join in with rather than audience shouting out or singing. We’ve been performing ‘COVID-safe’ since the summer so have a lot of experience to draw on. This was a challenge of course, but worth every moment to bring some much needed Christmas magic into the world!

We love a bit of magic especially during this tough year for everyone! Has your rehearsals been affected during lockdown too?

Yes, some of our rehearsals were scheduled during the second lockdown and our usual church hall closed, but BEAF came to our rescue with a performing space for us to use! We have fallen in love with this space so hopefully they’ll let us back in future! We were delighted to welcome 4 families invited by Dorset Children’s Foundation to our dress rehearsal – with such an interactive show its essential to test drive it on real families!

We are more than happy to help and we’d love to have you back of course! So, where are the elves going next?

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be performing The Elves and the Shoemakers a rather incredible 50 times in primary schools (one bubble at a time!).

The last 3 shows on 18 and 19 December are open to the public, with tickets just £5 each

Book tickets here: 18th December  19th December

There’s also some performances for Home Educating families. Find out more here

We will almost certainly tour this show again in the early summer because we haven’t been able to perform with lots of the special needs schools, and adults with learning disabilities this winter, and we’ve really missed it! So we’ll centre a summer tour around when the time is right for them to come along, and go from there!

Fantastic thanks Louisa, and send our best BEAF love to the elves too! Find out more about Treehouse Theatre on their Instagram and Facebook pages.

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Beautiful Beryl of Boscombe

Dedication to the beautiful Beryl’s of Boscombe

To celebrate the unveiling of our new mural A Memory of Elephants created by BEAF 2020 commissioned artist Krishna Malla, we held a poll for people to vote for the names of the six elephants.

One of those names chosen was Beryl, which has a huge personal significance for two families who live in Bournemouth.

Local residents Chemene and her niece Carrie both contacted us to say how meaningful it was that one of the names chosen was Beryl. So we were really keen to meet them and find out more! This is their story:

Tell us a bit about the significance of the name Beryl for you? 

Carrie: It means the world to me and my family that one of the elephants has been named Beryl as it was the name of my beautiful Grandma – Beryl Margaret Anne Sutton. I know that Beryl was quite a popular choice of name during my grandma’s era so I hope there are many more local Beryl’s that will appreciate the name choice also!

Chemene: My mum loved all animals, but elephants were her favourite. I remember from my very first memories her love for elephants. She was a member of animal charities and we always had family pets, which she adored. Mother elephants are known for being exceptional mothers and this reminds me of how my mum was as a mother too, it’s almost like she had that connection with them.

Carrie: My Grandma was also very outspoken when it came to animal welfare and it broke her heart to see and hear of the mistreatment of elephants all over the world, being used for tourism and entertainment, illegal hunting and so on, and so I know to have her name attached to the beautiful artwork on display, raising awareness of these beautiful creatures, would have meant the absolute world to her as well. 

Chemene: I know my Mum will be looking down and feeling so proud an elephant has been named after her, it would make her day and she’d be so happy. She honestly was such a beautiful and caring lady who always saw the best in people.

Beryl pictured, with a selection of her elephants collection.

What are your favourite memories of Boscombe growing up? 

Carrie: I have loads of childhood memories of Boscombe, my great grandmother lived there all her life and my grandma Beryl and I would often go to visit and spend the day either visiting the shops in the high street, stopping for lunch in one of the little cafes, having a cola sat outside the Commodore pub, or on the beach and walking the cliffs. I particularly used to enjoy watching the trains pass through from my great grandmother’s window as she lived in St Clements Road, running parallel with the train tracks. 

Chemene: My memories of Boscombe were always when we visited my Nan – Beryl’s mother. We would spend many a time at the beach and walking through the gardens and cliff tops.

What does it mean to you and your family having Beryl’s dedicated to one of elephants in the mural?

Chemene: The day I received the email to say an elephant had been named Beryl, I couldn’t stop crying. It was such a happy emotional feeling, and I think it was more so that if she was still here, how she would’ve been so happy. I know every time any of my family visits Boscombe, we will all look at the mural and it will mean so much to us for many years to come. I’d also like to say how happy I am for my dad too, he was a fantastic husband to my mum and supported her throughout her whole life. We will always remember her when we see the mural and feel so proud of this truly special lady.

Carrie and Chemene standing with her Dad, Beryl’s husband.

Carrie: I love the new artwork, I think it really brightens the high street up and I hope many more generations will get to enjoy it as much as we are. 

Alongside Carrie and Chemene, our very own Harri Uren who is part of our marketing team at BEAF also shares a personal significance to the name Beryl!

Harri: My Nana, Beryl, is a very kind and special person. She grew up in Corhampton Road, on the outskirts of Boscombe. She has continued to live in Bournemouth and Poole throughout her entire life, which makes this mural very special to our family. Elephants have always been a big part of my family! We have many elephant themed items in our home and seeing any photos or videos of elephants always reminds me of my Nana and Mum. Having one of the elephants named Beryl feels very special to us, as unfortunately my Nana was recently diagnosed with Dementia. So having an elephant named after her provides us with a special memory of what a wonderful person she is! From now on, I will always look at that mural and think of my Nana and the treasured times we’ve had in Bournemouth together.

Have you seen the mural yet in person? Take your own picture with the herd and share it with us on social media. You can find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, or just just us using #gotbeaf or #amemoryofelephants!

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Name the BEAF herd!

Aritst, Krishna Malla, commonly known as Tech Moon, was commissioned by BEAF to create this mural as part of our festival this year. His much-celebrated mural last year, a large scale Dachshund that still remains in Boscombe, saw a huge response from the local community, including a group photo being organised in front of it featuring over 100 owners with their pet Dachshunds!

“I want this mural to celebrate the rich history of Boscombe, and this magnificent creature, yet draw attention to animal welfare. We can marvel and appreciate the beauty of creatures such as this, immortalised across some 200 meters of wall without having to ride them in foreign countries or watch them dance in circuses.” Krishna Malla, Technicolour Moon

A Memory of Elephants

This year, Krishna’s mural has a poignant significance to the town.   

Looking back to the early 1900’s, travelling circuses such as the Royal Italian Circus, Billy Smarts Circus, and Chapmans Continental Zoo Circus are among a few that brought elephants and many other wild animals to the Hippodrome, now the O2 Academy, entertaining thousands of people annually. These majestic animals would be paraded down the high street between the shows, which in itself became an iconic event for the town.

This has become Krishna Malla’s inspiration for the new mural scaling 29 m wide and 6m high, and features a herd of six elephants stampeding out of the front section of the Sovereign Centre. And we want you to help name them! 

Name the BEAF herd!

We are calling on the local community to help name all six elephants of the herd. Vote for your favourite name in the poll below or share your own choice of names beginning with the letter ‘B’! You can vote more than once too.

The top six names will be chosen after two weeks of voting. 

Voting closes on 5th June – let’s name our new addition to the Boscombe family!

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BEAF in lockdown

Here at BEAF HQ, creativity and community is always at the heart of what we do, especially in unprecedented times like these. We wanted to share with you all the ways we have been busy supporting our artists, students and the local community since lockdown began:

Supporting artists and freelancers

  • Given advance commission money to 40 artists, paying 50% of the funding upfront
  • Continued to employ our freelance team, so we can keep our communications channels active and keep communication with our artists and community
  • Setting up online projects, to keep engagement with our community and artists such as our Wallpaper Competition
  • Provided free studio space for artists in our pop-up space, B.A.D. Boscombe Arts Depot

Supporting AUB & BU students

  • Continuing to offer and manage 5 student work placements from Arts University Bournemouth to guarantee they can complete their assessed Unit and ensure they complete their Level 5 and Level 6 studies;
  • Supported and found ways to work with 20 BU Media students through their Level 5 media project
  • Acted as client for a further Level 5 project with Arts University Bournemouth students which commenced in February and involved over 80 students

Staying in touch

  • Launched a weekly newsletter highlighting artists in lockdown to bring the local community together – BEAF Stew, the good newsletter.
  • Launched our #BEAFATHOME project with a series of ‘artists at home’ videos
  • Sharing support links and engaging arts projects to keep our local community creatively active.

Supporting our local community

  • Connecting with and promoting local small businesses in BCP area who are still operating during lockdown
  • Provided free storage for Dorset Children’s Foundation at Boscombe Arts Depot

Continuing to create

  • We have commissioned one artist to complete a major artwork with clearance for this work to be completed during lockdown – more exciting new on this VERY soon! 
  • We will be setting up a ‘through the window’ exhibition programme in our pop-up venue B.A.D. on Boscombe precinct.

Support for the marginalised and vulnerable

We are committed to supporting the marginalised and vulnerable members of our community through our project The Outsiders Project. This includes:

  • Running 2 free online weekly creative writing workshops each week. This has kept regular contact with 27 participants on the women only course and 18 participants on the open access group
  • Continued to employ our outsider workshop leaders to run the online workshops
  • Continued to employ our mentor so one-to-one support for the most vulnerable and isolated participants can be supported
  • Provided free access to writing workshops via Nell Leyshon’s You Tube sessions
  • Set up a new online project TATTOO moving the original idea for the performance to an online writing programme
  • Supporting members of the writing group to ‘gather’ stories for the online Tattoo project
  • Started a new partnership with Hampstead Theatre for the Tattoo project

For the featured illustration we commissioned Bournemouth based illustrator Bridie Cheeseman.

Don’t forget to find out more from us each week on social media!

Coming Up

Wallpaper Competition

Create a phone wallpaper design for BEAF 2020 and win prizes!

While we all might be stuck inside our four walls at the moment, we thought the best way to keep busy is to get creative.. by making digital wallpaper!  

We are calling all illustrators, designers, artists and doodlers to create a phone wallpaper tying in with our 2020 festival theme this year: 2B Human.

The brief is simple – create your own phone wallpaper design based on what it means to you to be human.

Designs must be high resolution 1080px by 1920px (9:16)


Two winning designs will be chosen:

  • 1st prize: 6 months subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud Suite
  • 2nd prize: Paints from Stuart Semple’s Culture Hustle

Ten runner up designs will be featured in a projected exhibition in Boscombe during the festival.

All winning entries will be featured in our Instagram highlight for everyone to enjoy as a digital souvenir of BEAF 2020!

How to enter 

Submit your design to or tag us @gotbeaf on Instagram using the hashtag #BEAFWallpaper

All entries must be submitted by Monday 18th May

N.B. All submitted material must be original and suitable for viewing by all ages. BEAF reserves the right to refuse any submission.

Winners will be announced on Friday 22nd May.

Good luck!

Featured wallpaper design by Natalie Cook

Coming Up

BEAF support Dorset Childrens Foundation

This year, we are excited to open our first pop-up venue Boscombe Arts Depot (B.A.D) that was previously the old TJ Hughes department store in the Sovereign Centre.

Boscombe Arts Depot will act as the hub of the festival this year and will feature our major exhibition, 2B Human which includes new work from over 20 artists commissioned by BEAF as well as inspiring pieces from the festival headline artists William Kentridge and Stuart Semple. 

We have also reached out to offer part of this space to support the local Dorset’s Children Foundation (DCF), who were in desperate need of somewhere to house donated stock that would fund vital resources such as medical expenses, mobility equipment, therapies, inclusive activities and a family support network for children and families in need across the county. 

In December 2019, DCF signed a contract for a large space in Bournemouth town centre which would have been used by the charity for both retail space and family events and activities. But in January, the charity heard the devastating news that the building had been sold.

“We literally tried everything to get some space and this is when Carol and the BEAF team stepped in and offered us a huge space in the TJ Hughes building in Boscombe.Dorset Children’s Foundation founder Patsy Hallmey.

This was a significant relief for the charity, not only allowing them to trade again and store existing donations but it also enabled them to accept ten van loads of brand new goods from a discount high street retailer. These craft supplies and Easter goodies will now be distributed to our many families in isolation. 

Patsy Hallmey adds, “We are just so incredibly grateful for this space and it is wonderful how in our time of need Carol and the team at BEAF reached out to us to offer their help.”

We are now developing an exciting new joint venture with DCF to develop the first immersive and interactive space for children with special needs for the festival. Led by Bournemouth resident Lisa Davies of Squidge and Pop, the space will come alive with therapeutic bubble workshops building on the fantastic space created for BEAF in 2019 where groups of all abilities came to enjoy the sensory environment – so stay tuned!

News Articles

BEAF 2018 Highlights Video

The BEAF 2018 Highlights video is here!

Over 10K people and 100 events making a difference to creativity and the community.

Here are some amazing comments from last year’s festival:

“Lovely to see people out relaxing, sharing space.”

“Very glad to be part of a festival that celebrates and incubates local artists”

“Brings joy and a sense of community”

“Gives space  & opportunity for people to stop + think + be creative in busy lives.”

“Who could imagine that two actors Neill and Trac Pawley, would create such Pathos and hilarity in two 55 second acts.”- brilliant- John & Steve, Fishermans Walk Cliff Lift Operators on Language Timothy

Come along to BEAF 2019 from 4th- 12th May to see this year’s wonderful range of creative activities and performances!