4 December 2019

Urgent call for international support for Galway Community Circus School

Caravan International Youth and Social Network is devastated to learn that Galway Community Circus (GCC) has had to cancel classes for their 650 young people and that the future of the organisation is threatened by Ireland’s insurance crisis.

Due to the national withdrawal of underwriters, Irish organisations are facing the impossible scenario of not getting quotes or cover for their practices. This crisis is causing the closure of many organisations across the country. GCC is being damagingly affected by this and has only been able to secure one quote for insurance cover for €23,890. Unfortunately, this excludes any aerial acrobatics or any activity above 1.5m – a key element of their activities.

Galway Community Circus has been transforming the lives of young people and its community for 18 years. It is the flagship for youth and social circus education in Ireland, advancing education and promoting social inclusion for young people. The circus has been a valued member of our network Caravan since 2012. Caravan is the international youth and social circus network of 35 circus schools from across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, that advocates for the positive impact of youth and social circus. GCC’s director Ulla Hokkanen plays an active role in Europe as our board member and treasurer.

Through their involvement in international projects and advocacy work, GGC has played a pivotal role in the development of youth and social circus in Europe. On a local, national and international level GCC offers opportunities to participate to a wide variety of people, including youth, trainers and artists. Their commitment to the inclusion for youth-at-risk has had a huge impact on the lives of many vulnerable young people, both in Ireland and across Europe.

GGC is a key partner partner in Circus++, a new project that has just received 3 years of Erasmus+ funding and will develop the first Europe-wide curriculum for a youth and social circus university course. The closure of the organisation would deprive the European project of input from the Irish partner and restrict many educational opportunities for the young people of Ireland. 

The current crisis threatens to restrict opportunities for youth workers from all over Europe. GCC is an active partner in Caravan’s training for trainers programme Circus Trans Formation In Action (CTF). Based on 5 years of European-funded research, working with two universities and eight Caravan members, CTF provides ongoing training in social circus. As well as hosting the international workshops, trainers from Galway take part in four modules in four different international circus schools. Galway is also a regular host of European volunteers through the European Voluntary Service, providing life-changing professional opportunities to young people from various European countries. 

Ophélie Mercier, Caravan’s Development Manager says “We are deeply concerned about the future of a circus that has provided so much for so many young people in Ireland and across Europe. We need to find a long-term solution so that we don’t deprive these young people of this incredible resource that brings them such important tools for their wellbeing and personal and artistic development. It’s vital that the international community come together to support GGC in this time of crisis’.

Something urgent needs to be done to protect this organisation. We’re asking for practical solutions, including relationships or contacts with people that could help GCC. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch info@galwaycircus.com



Make a donation and share GCC’s crowdfunding campaign here.
Follow GCC Facebook for updates on the Crisis: www.facebook.com/GalwayCommunityCircus
A practical list of ways you can help GCC: www.galwaycommunitycircus.com/news
More information on the Irish Insurance Crisis here www.insurancereform.ie/ 
Information on Circus++:  www.caravancircusnetwork.eu/circus-2 

Caravan International Youth and Social Circus Network www.caravancircusnetwork.eu/
Contact: Susan Burnell susan@caravancircusnetwork.eu

Galway Community Circus
Contact: info@galwaycircus.com    085 1117224 or 087 3782645