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Podcast: Drawing everybody’s attention

27 November 2013

You might be forgiven for thinking at 80, Bill Tidy MBE, distinguished cartoonist, writer and TV personality, might want to put his feet up. But why would he do that when he can spend his days helping people at a Lottery-funded project? The Big Lottery Fund’s Sue Barsby tells us more.

Bill Tidy MBE

Bill Tidy MBE

Drawing Everybody’s Attention is a project that runs at Jobs Education and Training (JET) in Derby, a charity that provides assistance to the local community in finding courses, opportunities and work across the city.

JET is based in a very diverse area of the city and the project brings communities from all walks of life together, to help them engage with each other and to find employment.

The project uses pictures to help teach the attendees who are dealing with learning English as a second language. The sessions were devised by Bill and JET staff to make learning English interesting and interactive.

Bill, formerly a political cartoonist who made his name with cartoon strips such as the Fosdyke saga and The Cloggies, runs sessions that play with language, encouraging the participants to come up and draw too, engaging everyone across language and cultural barriers. The sessions bring the different communities together and help them to exchange ideas, points of view and experiences as well as teaching English.

Bill Tidy leads language class

Bill Tidy leads a language session with a difference

“The idea behind the illustrated lecture programme,” says Peter Bartlett, Business Development Director at JET, “was to recognise that pictures don’t need language specialisation.

“It would be a way of getting together groups of different nationalities so that we could help them with English, get them working together in a happy environment and involve them in drawing.

“We’ve been delighted with the level of participation and the feeback that we’ve got and many people have asked to come again.

“The challenge we’ve now got is to explore using this as a permanent tool in our ESOL delivery and possibly adapting it because it’s also a terrific educational tool for young people.”

Drawing Everybody’s Attention received £7,952 from Awards for All in April 2013 to run a series of illustrative lectures for the local community in Derby. Listen to the following podcast for Bill’s thoughts on the project:

What do you think of Sue’s guest blog? Have you been involved in a project engaging people through art? Leave your comments on the blog below or join the conversation on Twitter using

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 15 February 2014 10:01 am

    Online entrepreneurs tend to use online affiliate program especially to those who are beginners on this field. Sometimes they want to start a business but they don’t have any ideas where to start or what products need to market. This program is actually a huge help for them.

  2. 26 March 2014 10:51 am

    I think it’s great that they’ve had such generous funding, it really will help the community to do something like this!

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