Now more than ever we need to take time to be creative and connect with others. New course, new venue, new activities, new safety guidelines – but still fun and a great way to get creative again.
A big Thank You to North Somerset Council and Quartet Community Foundation for funding Create Together to make up and deliver 200 art and craft pack to people who live in the more rural areas of North Somerset, to people who are isolated or who have been shielding during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Helen Wheelock, from Create Together, said: “Its been fantastic to receive the funding and support from North Somerset Council and Quartet Community Foundation to provide the art packs. The art packs have included a wide variety of creative activities for people to get involved with and have been a way for people to feel connected in some way through lockdown’.
The feedback from people who have received an art pack has been extremely positive.
Christine, aged 64 said “I cannot thank you enough for dropping an art pack to my doorstep and chatting with me. Its full of lovely creative goodies and I cannot wait to get stuck in. Life has been somewhat lonely and recently I have been feeling very low, but to think that someone has gone out their way and spent time with me has really lifted my spirits, Thank you”.
It is proven that engaging in creative activities reduces stress and anxiety, it can help to increase self esteem and help to support mental health.
Many thanks to the Quartet Community Foundation for funding Create Together during the Coronavirus Pandemic, enabling Create Together to make-up and distribute a further 100 art packs to people in North Somerset who may be lonely, isolated or struggling with poor mental health.
Create Together has already delivered 100 packs during the lockdown which have been funded by North Somerset Council. These art packs are proving to be vital for peoples health and wellbeing. The packs have been distributed to people who have previously attended a Create Together course or who have come through other community services and Covid-19 support groups.
Helen said “the response when I deliver the art packs is amazing. It’s a great opportunity to have a chat and check in on people face to face, even if it is from a distance. I’ve had people send me photos of the things they have made, and I’ve received phone calls from people asking for tips or to share their own creative ideas with me. The art packs not only give people things to make and do but also act as conversation starters”.
Create Together, like many other arts businesses have been exploring different ways of staying connected with people during the Coronavirus Lockdown. For so many people attending a Create Together course is not just about the art, but a way of connecting with other people and having fun.
Amy aged 54, lives on her own and suffers with long term health conditions along with anxiety, which has resulted in her finding it hard to socialise and make friends. Amy had previously attended a Create Together arts and craft course and was waiting to join a new course after Easter. Due to the Coronavirus the course has had to be postponed, leaving many people like Amy feeling scared, lonely and isolated.
Amy said “Attending the arts and craft course gave me a reason to leave the house and gradually made me feel less anxious. Creativity has helped me through a lot of difficult times and has played a significant role with helping manage my anxiety. For me, the course wasn’t always about making something but spending time with other people, chatting and having fun in a safe environment. I will miss the course as it was a life line to me, but I am going to try and stay positive and use some of the craft ideas I have learnt from the last course during this difficult time”.
Helen said “I am normally facilitating the courses in the community, but because all my face to face work has been cancelled people can not attend them. I thought, why can’t I help people and try and get the the art materials out to them at home?”
Using the materials which were purchased for the courses, Helen has made up some art packs and has been able to deliver them to peoples doorsteps.
“Knowing that I was having an art pack delivered to my doorstep this morning gave me the reason to get out of bed. I am really grateful to Helen for checking in on me and sending me the materials to make a lovely sun catcher” said Amy.
I want to share with you my passion for visual arts and how it is making a difference in people’s lives across various locations in North Somerset. Create Together is dedicated to recognising loneliness and helping people to build new friendships with others in their community through shared creative activities.
It is a mistake to think that loneliness is something only experienced by older people. I have found that it is a common emotion amongst participants of all ages and from all walks of life. Loneliness correlates strongly with other problems, including poor mental health and poor physical health and this is apparent across all the groups I facilitate. The feedback given by one participant was typical of some of the responses I see, when people discover the healing power of self-expression in a safe, caring environment.
“Being part of create together saved my life. Life is tough and I have been struggling to the point that I felt my life had no purpose. I felt so alone and in a dark place. I saw a poster at the Dr’s surgery for Create Together and found the courage to text a message. I had always enjoyed doing arty stuff and thought it may help me. Helen made me feel welcome and introduced me to the group but also spent time getting to know me too. Helen was respectful and there were weeks when I preferred to watch from the side-lines, and this was always ok. I soon started to feel I belonged to the group and felt valued. When the course started to come to an end I started to panic, as this had been my lifeline. However, the group has continued to meet weekly and I have started to make new friends and always look forward to the group“. Gill B, Create Together participant 2019
I recently attended “ASIST Suicide Prevention” and Mental Health First Aid” training, which have given me more confidence and knowledge in recognising the signs when people are struggling. It has also taught me the importance of taking action rather than doing nothing.
Gills’s experience shows the profound changes that came about through the process of making art. And, while there’s no denying that the product is often pretty, that really isn’t what it’s all about.
I find it facinating when I receive posts of beautiful Zentangles from people who have said they can’t draw or who are convinced that they are not creative.
Zentangle (or doodling) is a relaxing, fun art form that is created with pen and pencil using simple repetitive patterns. The results are always surprising and unique. Unlike many other art forms Zentangles require no preplanning or background in art, yet the results are quite stunning. Zentangles are such a popular activity during a Create Together course.
I always look forward to learning how people are using this method of drawing at home and get excited when they share what they have created. Keep sharing….
Creating Zentangles and eating chocolate cake. Thankyou Amy for sharing chocolate cupcakes with the group.
What a lovely way to to end the last session before the summer break. Zentangle art (or doodling) is such a fun and relaxing way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns.
They say time flies when you are having fun! Sadly tomorrow is the last arts and craft session this term but I will be back with new exciting courses in September in various locations across North Somerset.
During the next few weeks I will be finalising the paperwork for Create Together to become a Community Interest Company (CIC). It’s been a brave decision to make but listening to all your personal stories of how Create Together has encouraged positive wellbeing I have decided that now is the time to follow my dream.
It’s been a fantastic journey, its been fun, people have made new friends, discovered creative skills and drank lots of tea and coffee.
Thank you so much to the lovely ladies who held a craft afternoon and raised some money as way of saying Thank you for the fun, confidence and new creative ideas they gained during their time on the Create Together course in Clevedon, as a way of saying Thank you they donated to a charity which Create Together supports.
When I started Create Together I never imagined the positive impact that engaging in creative activities would have on peoples health and wellbeing in my local community.