Ava loves photography. She has recently completed a Silver Arts Award in photography and her aim is to complete her Gold Arts award; this will then give her the accredited qualification she needs to take photography level 3 at college. The college she was attending unfortunately ran into funding difficulty and her course was discontinued, so in order to get to the next level she needs to complete this Gold Arts Award. She requires the funds to get mentoring from Lindsey Smith from Photoworks and also a new camera and some software. She has a huge passion for photography and had recently won an award from the Fabrica Gallery for the best soundtrack in a film competition. The Starr Trust has provided funding for a new camera, software and mentoring from Lindsey Smith to achieve her Gold Arts Award.

Updates from Ava


I feel honoured to have been given the Edward Starr Award, and with it I want to create a project that will delight and inspire young ‘camera heads’ like me! It will allow me to have the guidance of Lindsey Smith, who constantly inspires me with her kindness, cheerfulness and creativity and it will enable me to use high quality equipment and software to get my ideas across with better effect. It will also give me the chance to do a Gold Arts Award in photography which will prove to colleges that I have what it takes to study photography in the future.I am so looking forward to this opportunity. Thank you to the Starr Trust for supporting me.

Updates from Ava

August 2019

Ava has just found out that she had achieved three A Level passes (A, B and C) and has been offered an unconditional place at the University of Brighton to do her first choice of course.  Ava’s mum says: “The Starr Trust’s generous donation helped Ava to develop her technical and artistic skills in photography, sound and film and gave her confidence in her abilities so she could start work on her GCSE’s, then A levels and finally university application. The Trust helped her so much to move on in her life at a time when her options were limited.”  Ava says: “Thank you for the inspiration the Starr Trust gave me for creating art, enabling me to work with the fantastic photographer, Lindsey Smith, and allowing me to use an SLR camera and brilliant Adobe software. It was great to work with you and the Trust, you gave me confidence at a time when the college I was attending failed to get funding. The Trust kept me going through this time and I am so grateful! It helped me to be admitted to sixth form college and go on to pass my GCSEs and A levels. Please keep up the good work.

May 2018

Ava recently got the opportunity to be in the audience for the finals of television show ‘The Voice’. The trip, which was organised for us by our Ambassador Claire Clements was taken by photographer Ava and her Dad - both fans of the programme.  Ava told us: “I am a Film Studies and Photography A Level student, and being in the film studio was absolutely amazing and inspiring! The lights during the show were so bright and beautiful and it was interesting to see how a show of The Voice plays out.  Supposed live TV is quite contrived – with sections being recorded the day before, footage being filmed elsewhere, and the audience being revved up to fever pitch by a warm-up person in every break!  It was also a privilege to be in the same studio where household classics such as Star Wars were filmed.  My family’s favourite contestant, Ruti Olajugbagbe, won, so that was an extra bonus from the day! I am now a definite fan of The Voice.  Thank you, Starr Trust for organising an amazing evening out for me and my dad!  Here’s three photos of me – two taken from the TV, I’m wearing a black dress saying “Thrilled” in white letters! You can just see me…

The Starr Trust would like to thank Claire for giving Ava such a wonderful opportunity.

December 2017

Ava says:  “I want to say thank you for your fantastic support for my photography and multimedia work. With the grant you gave me I was able to buy a Digital SLR camera and pay for professional photo and video software.  I was also able to work with Lindsey Smith, a professional photographer and community artist, and Piotr Obal, a film maker and workshop leader. I was a volunteer to support photography workshops in Brighton Libraries and interviewed artists, musicians and a professional screenwriter. I also wrote an extended essay about the role of women in horror films.  Originally, I was doing a Gold Arts Award to help me go to College and do Photography, but I am no longer finishing this award because I am now at Varndean College doing A Level Photography, Film Studies and English Language. I would not have got into college without support from the Starr Trust.  I feel very privileged to have done this work - I have taken thousands of photos and produced a film using stills from my work, my creative writing and atmospheric music and sound effects. Thank you so much for supporting me. It has helped my skills and confidence so much, and has provided access to the qualifications I need to progress in my beloved photography and a future in multimedia. I know you will continue to help other young people to fulfil their dreams too.

November 2017

Ava was asked by our regular supporter Gemini Print to submit some photographs to feature in their 2018 calendar. They have chosen a lovely image of two cows and this will feature in the calendar. Well done to Ava!  

June 2017

Some words from Ava:  “Hi all, just a quick update on my photography project and grant from the Starr Trust.  The money from the Starr Trust has enabled me to get all that I need to progress with my Gold Photography Arts project – to buy photography, video and audio software, to buy a new camera and to pay for meetings with my mentors – Lindsey Smith and Sarah Pain. They have guided me through the Arts Award structure and to complete the assignments.  Recently, I have made leaps and bounds with my Award.  First, I have made my short film; ‘In the Nightmare’. I have posted it up on YouTube and Facebook so that I can hear people’s thoughts on it. The comments on the film had all been positive and in some, people have told me about what they fear.

After that, I wrote an essay on the roles of woman in horror films and whether their involvement had improved or not. I concluded that the roles of woman in the modern era have been getting better thanks to more women becoming involved in horror and writing and directing films.  For the second part of my award, I am currently planning an event where artwork about people’s fears (both understandable and ‘silly’) are discussed and showcased. The event will feature opportunities to talk with audiences about their fears and/or display photos, films, songs, poems and other art forms about their fears and how they view them.  This event will be the climax of all my work. I’m hoping for the event to occur in July or August. I’m hoping to invite the artists that I know and even send an invitation to other young artists who have won awards from the Starr Trust to attend and possibly display work if they would like.  I feel that my project is going according to plan. I’ve received positive feedback for my photography from the Varndean photography course leader who has recommended me for A level photography - a key aim of applying for an award from the Starr Trust in the first place was to enable me to move on to level 3 photography at Varndean.  Thank you so much to the Starr Trust for their generous award – it has helped me so much!

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