Art initiative gifts free art materials to young people during COVID-19
Arts Connect, part of the University of Wolverhampton’s Faculty of Arts Business and Social Science, delivered free arts materials to vulnerable children and young people across the region during the pandemic.
The project was funded by Arts Council England and was part of a national initiative to gift 25,000 vulnerable children and young people with a pack of free arts materials delivered to their homes.
Arts Connect, the Bridge organisation for the West Midlands, supports communities across the West Midlands, to enable children and young people (from 0-25) to enjoy a rich and meaningful arts and cultural life, working with 500 education partners and 1,700 teachers, 300 arts and cultural organisations as well as 150 artists across the Midlands region.
The packs offered basic arts resources to support play, wellbeing, learning and creativity at home.
Arts Connect focused its delivery of ‘Let’s Create’ packs in the West Midlands on children in care through their partnership with Virtual Schools in the region and for vulnerable children aged 2 to 5, as part of their early years programme, Moonbeams. Over three phases of delivery have taken place, from May to July with over 4,500 packs delivered overall.
In the first phase, 400 ‘Let’s Create’ packs were sent to all children in care aged 4-16 years in Dudley. In the second phase over 2,100 packs were sent to children in care in Staffordshire, Herefordshire and Telford and Nurseries and Early Years settings in Birmingham and north Warwickshire. In the third phase the remaining 2,000 packs were delivered to virtual schools in Worcestershire, Walsall and Sandwell and Nurseries and Early Years settings in Birmingham and Coventry.
Pepita Hanna, an Associate Director at Arts Connect, said: “The Let’s Create packs are an exciting opportunity to provide children with quality materials and equipment in their own homes. These packs are just for them to play and experiment with ideas, words, pictures, stories, and to be able to create and express themselves in lots of different ways...all so important in this challenging time.”
Paris, Young Person - Chair of Dudley Children in Care Council, said: “‘I think that the art packs are a brilliant idea. The materials all look like they can lead to hours of fun. It’s a great way for all kids to get involved and creative during lockdown.”
Andy Wright – Dudley Virtual School Head Teachers, said: “The Let’s Create Arts Packs have certainly enriched the educating at home offer. It has helped to increase engagement in the Arts, raise awareness with both young people and Carers and bring a greater variety to learning.”
One of the young people in care said: “Thank you for the Arts Pack. Awesome! I can make a thank you card…. I love everyone in that big building in Telford cause they really do they care about all of us. We have not been forgotten during that COVID thing! Social workers Facetime us, Virtual school send us presents and video call us loads, and the delivery people made it happen! Awesome!”
Darren Henley, Chief Executive, Arts Council England, said: “Thanks to National Lottery players, we’re helping children to lead creative lives during lockdown. We know that being creative teaches young people new skills, as well as increasing their overall happiness and wellbeing. These art boxes will help more children from every background get the chance to flourish despite the challenges they’re facing right now.”
The ‘Let’s Create’ pack project is led by the network of the ten Bridge organisations in England working in partnership with Arts Council England with support from National Lottery funds, The Art Fund, the Crafts Council and other funders. The delivery has been coordinated by the Bridges, with their local partners and other philanthropic support.
If you would be interested in supporting Let’s Create packs in the West Midlands please get in touch with Pepita Hanna: Pepita.Hanna@wlv.ac.uk
Picture caption & credit: Jack Spicer Adams for Arts Connect. Taken at Lillian de Lissa Nursery School, Birmingham. With Jenipher Mumba and daughters Lambriana (4) and Zoi (2) and Mrs Mandy Cryan Executive Headteacher.
For press enquiries contact Felicity Martin, Communications and Marketing Manager, Arts Connect. Mobile: 07779 773197. Email: F.Martin@wlv.ac.uk
The Let’s Create packs have been funded by The National Lottery, with additional support from Crafts Council and Art Fund. The Let’s Create activity book was created by art teacher Andria Zafirakou, winner of the 2018 Global Teacher Prize. It is available to download here.
Arts Connect works across the West Midlands, including the metropolitan local authorities of Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Stoke on Trent, Telford & Wrekin, Walsall and Wolverhampton, as well as the shire counties of Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire. Find out more information on the website: www.artsconnect.co.uk
For more information please contact the Corporate Communications Team.