One of Plymouth University’s creative partners, Effervescent, has made it through to the finals of this year’s National Lottery Awards.

The awards are an annual search to find the UK’s favourite lottery-funded projects, and they recognise and celebrate the difference lottery-funded projects make to communities across the UK.

The awards have seven categories, each reflecting an area of lottery funding, and Effervescent is one of only seven projects – and the only one in the South West – to make it through to the finals in the Best Arts Project category.

Effervescent’s project R[eff]uge received lottery funding in order to help teach vulnerable children and young people how to create and display art about taboo subjects that are otherwise difficult to talk about.

The exhibitions are shown at Effervescent’s Radiant gallery, which is the only professional gallery in the UK curated entirely by children and young people, and the organisation is also behind the social enterprise bistro and tea room, RumpusCosy.

Effervescent’s Creative Director and CEO, Eloise Malone said:

“I’m delighted that the project has been honoured in this way. Our young curators worked so hard, putting their hearts and souls on the line with deeply personal art, and this acknowledges their courage and bravery. Lottery funding has helped provide a gentle space for young people to bring difficult issues into the open. As an arts organisation we help young people say the things they had no previous way to say. It’s easy to vote, so we're hoping people support us, to help us gain national recognition for this important work.”

Part of the R[eff]uge project was this year’s exhibition, The Cold Truth, which featured a chilling sculpture display made up of 50 pairs of glass and ice children's shoes. The installation melted throughout each day, before being re-cast in ice every evening.

Curated by young people who have lived through sexual exploitation, the shoes symbolised the damage sexual abuse does to children's brains, bodies and relationships. It was produced in partnership with Barnardo’s, and in addition to being supported by The Big Lottery Fund was also supported by Children In Need, Plymouth University, Arts Council England and Plymouth City Council.

Professor Dafydd Moore, Executive Dean of Arts and Humanities at Plymouth University, said:

“This nomination is brilliant news for Effervescent, and further evidence of the exciting creativity in evidence within the city. We are proud to be working so closely with such an innovative organisation and hope people now get behind them to ensure they receive the support they need to win this competition.”

The winning project in each of the awards categories will receive national recognition on a star-studded BBC One TV show in early September and, in addition to the lottery funding they have already received, will receive a £3,000 cash prize to spend on their project.

Voting for the finals starts at 9am on 22 June and ends at midnight on 20 July. Voters can register their votes for R[eff]uge by calling 0844 836 9710 or logging on to www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/awards.

Contact the School of Art and Media