We have a new team member that we’d like to introduce….
Finley Neilens is Head4Arts’ new Community Arts Intern. He is a recent graduate from Cardiff Metropolitan University School of Art and Design’s BA Graphic Communication course.
During his degree, Finley got really passionate about how art and design could be a catalyst for social change and have a positive impact on people.
With less than two weeks into his internship, Finley is already involved in a load of different things, ranging from graphic design and social media marketing to helping run a choir session. Notably, he’s spending a lot of time working on promoting the upcoming Cwtsh Festival events.
Finley admits he’s not certain what the future holds. But, he has loved his start at Head4Arts, making a meaningful difference to people’s lives through creativity.
This week community arts organisation Head4Arts celebrated the delivery of its 1,000th free craft pack to Rebecca Jones and her family in Fochriw.
Whilst Welsh communities have been getting to grips with Covid-19 Lockdown, Head4Arts has been busy working alongside a variety of service providers, trying to bring a bit of sunshine into the lives of those struggling most with the current restrictions by providing creative activity packs to support the wellbeing of households currently under stress.
The Doorstep Craft programme packs have been designed by professional artists and contain all materials and instructions required to make something special to help raise low spirits. They have included rainbow butterfly suncatchers that throw colour into a room, quirky monsters and bears sending out virtual hugs, sock pets and pom-pom creatures to brighten up lives and simply-constructed rainbow-themed items conveying messages of hope. Recipients have had the opportunity to learn new skills or perhaps revive an interest that they have forgotten.
In order to safely distribute the craft packs, Head4Arts has been working with an extensive network of voluntary organisations, community groups and social housing associations who have added the packs to their regular doorstep deliveries of food, medical supplies and other essentials to households in isolation or under other pressures.
Creative Director, Kate Strudwick, explained:
“Creativity helps to promote positive mental wellbeing and has been vital in helping families stay healthy, keep connected and feel productive during lockdown. Working with our partners has helped us to target households that are most at need. There are some fantastic online arts initiatives available at the moment, but not everyone is able to access them so we felt it was important to develop a creative offer that could be enjoyed remotely without the need for internet access.”
The Doorstep Crafts Programme, made possible through funding from Arts Council of Wales, has also provided a welcome lifeline to freelance community artists, many of whom have been unable to earn any money since the announcement of lockdown. This scheme has put their creative talents to good use, supporting the well-being of local people, as well as providing work for artists.
The Jones family were thrilled to be the recipients of the 1000th craft pack, in this instance delivered by Parent Network volunteer, Cheryl Smith
“It was so lovely to see how excited the children were – they reacted as if we had given them a really special gift”
The programme has been welcomed by voluntary groups from across the area. Parent Network representative Leanne Chapman said:
“It’s such a positive project. Staying in touch is so important at the moment – plus we get an excellent excuse to have a doorstep chat with the families, so everyone benefits”