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Since lockdown we have been running our art workshops online with small groups of 4-6 members. We planned art activities around basic materials that we expected people would have at home like cardboard, tin cans, paper but it was a bit limiting. We are over the moon Coventry City of Culture 2021 sponsored our very first art packs which we delivered to people’s door-steps over a weekend. Additionally, they have granted us £1,815 emergency funding for art materials to run our online program.

Lorella getting ready to distribute art packs.
Quite a round trip all around Coventry, then Nuneaton, Rugby, Wolston, Southam, Warwick

Delivering the art packs gave us the chance to chat with our members face-to-face again – at a safe distance of course!

Seeing everyone was just amazing!

We talked about feeling starved for a hug, for good conversations, being creative in the same room and simply spending time together, that we are looking forward to reuniting at our weekly art workshops soon.

Enjoying light lunch and a lovely chat with Barnie Giltrap, Trustee

Our members told us that they are enjoying the weekly art workshops and catch-ups and how much they valued the weekly contact with staff and peers.

“I am always looking forward to the next homework projects. They’ve all been really interesting and helped me keep focused on my creativity and my mental health rather than stressing about the virus.”

“I love being able to carry on chatting during the week with people in the group. We didn’t do this before Covid and it is really helping me now to keep motivated. There is always somebody I can talk to and I always look forward to seeing their art work.”

“The art projects are very stimulating and make me think. Sometimes it’s very challenging and hitting a raw nerve but I know that I can always talk to people in the group and that they have a good understanding of my mental health challenges.”

Thanks to this funding we are able to continue providing vital support to vulnerable people with mental ill health who during this pandemic have become more isolated and at risk. Delivering the art packs to people’s homes gave us the opportunity to have private talks out of ear shot and help them with issues that were affecting their mental health and their ability to connect to others or seek help. We are now supporting some members to tackle domestic and financial abuse, anti-social behaviours in the neighbourhood, as well as connecting them with support groups in their area.

Coventry City of Culture 2021 Emergency Funding is administered by the Heart of England Community Foundation.

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