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SpecialEffect News

SpecialEffect News

20 May 2020

Creative responses to lockdown fundraising

In recent weeks we’ve been shining a light some of the amazingly inventive ways our supporters have responded to the current situation and we thought it was about time we showcased some of the artistic endeavours that have been flourishing as well.


Not long after we all started working from home, we learned about a brilliant young local artist by the name of Holly. She’d kindly offered to draw portraits for friends and family in exchange for a £5 donation to SpecialEffect after being told about the charity by her Dad Jon, who is a long-standing supporter.

The idea proved so popular that Holly ended up with quite a long waiting list and managed to raise a whopping £150 before she finally put her pencil down recently for a well-earned rest!

Below: Holly's portraits of our very own Nick and Ali

Sketches and photos of two people


SpecialEffect Ambassador John Greenwood is another supporter to have a found a way to respond creatively, despite the current restrictions on movement and social contact. As he commented recently on Facebook:

“It's a bit of a challenge to fundraise at the moment, but I borrowed an idea off of a friend of mine (a wedding photographer) and it has been rather successful. The idea was that we should capture these unique times in the form of a Lockdown Photograph - a keepsake that marks an event we will, no doubt, look back on for many years to come. I posted on our village Facebook group that I'd be happy to give up some time and take a photo of every household that wanted a photo taken on a set date - VE Day, as it transpired.”

“The response was phenomenal. Over 50 households requested a portrait and with a degree of planning, a fully charged camera and blank memory card, I set off on the morning of Friday 8 May to deliver on the promise. I'd outlined the approximate time when I would ring their doorbell, step back to a safe social distance and as the residents of each house stepped onto their doorstep (complete with dogs, chickens and guinea pigs?!) I would then take a few photos. It ran like clockwork. Let's face it, to get everyone together and at home can be a challenge at the best of times in normal circumstances, so this is a chance not to be missed!”

“What did I ask them to do in return? Visit the SpecialEffect website, read up on the charity and (if they were able to) make a donation. The image below represents a snapshot of the photos that I took. I can't say exactly how much it’s raised for SpecialEffect at this point or how much it has increased the awareness of the charity in our village, but as a certain supermarket chain says: every little helps! By all means borrow this idea yourself and see if you can also use it in a positive way where you are.”

Below: John's village photomontage

Montage of around 50 family front door portraits

Confetti Institute of Creative Technologies

The third example comes from the talented Second Year Games Art students at Confetti Institute of Creative Technologies in Nottingham. The students had been working hard to prepare an exhibition of their work to take place at the end of March. They’d been inspired to hear about the ways in which our work with eye-tracking technology has enabled people to find creative expression through making music, painting and writing, and were hoping to further support this work by selling some of their pieces in return for donations. However, when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, they had to think outside the box, instead curating a ‘teaser’ exhibition on the college website. As their Lecturer Amelia Roberts, explains:

“It’s a great pleasure to be showcasing the work of our Second Year Games Art students in this exciting online teaser exhibition! Our games artists were asked to work independently to produce artwork influenced by, or in the style of, a popular gaming franchise(s) in line with industry standards and legal frameworks. Working alongside SpecialEffect to raise awareness of the incredible work they do, enriching the lives of so many, and to deliver this exciting brief has been a wonderful experience. I hope the work produced brings a smile to the faces of those who view this sample of artworks produced by our students! Perhaps viewers might even recognise some of their favourite video game characters as well!”

Below: Examples of the students' work

Four pieces of artwork

You can read more about the exhibition and take a closer look at more of the students’ fantastic artwork here.

We wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in these wonderfully creative enterprises – Holly, John, Amelia and all her students - who gifted so much of their time, effort and skill to support us. If you’ve been inspired by what you’ve read here, please do get in touch!

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