Head4Arts Helps 1000 Households Get Creative

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”

To find out more about the Doorstep Crafts project or any of the other activities that Head4Arts is currently offering, visit www.head4arts.org.uk or contact info@head4arts.org.uk

Home Schooling Help for Dual Language Households

English-speaking parents struggling to get to grips with home-education for children who attend Welsh language schools will be interested to hear of a new free resource designed to support literacy and enjoyment of reading.

The Pont Project is delivered through a specially created app for smart phones and tablets. This makes it possible for mixed language households to have fun together, exploring short folk tales from Wales and Italy, featuring a cast of witches, giants and even the devil himself.

The project is the result of a collaboration between Welsh and Italian cultural organisations celebrating their bilingual heritage. The resources are also available in Italian and Occitan (an indigenous language still spoken in Northern Italy and in parts of France and Spain).

Kate Strudwick, Creative Director of Valleys-based community arts organisation Head4Arts explained:

“The project initially involved Ysgol y Lawnt and Upper Rhymney primary schools in Caerphilly and took place earlier this year, with Italian schools joining in the autumn. However, with the current Coronavirus lockdown it seems like a good idea to open out the project, so that other young people and families can benefit”.

The texts are all contained within the app, but there are other ways to access the material, including through performances recorded by Welsh storyteller, Tamar Eluned Williams.

The project is supported by Arts Council of Wales and Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Cuneo.

Full details of how to get involved can be accessed through Head4Arts (info@head4arts.org.uk)

Get Creative with Head4Arts

Over the past few months, Head4Arts has been busy reconfiguring its programme of work to ensure that we are able to continue to offer fun, imaginative, professionally led participatory arts activities that can be enjoyed at home.

The programme includes the following key elements, with
plenty of opportunities to get involved during this period of isolation:

Head4 Happiness

Head4Arts continue to host regular online activities, taking place via Zoom.

Activities currently on offer:

Celtic Café, intergenerational music group, Wednesdays 16.30 – 18.30 (with the first 45 minutes focusing on teaching beginners)

Singalong with Ali Shone, Thursdays 12.30 – 13.45

For details on how to join in send us a message via social
media or email info@head4arts.org.uk

Keep an eye on our website and social media pages for information and further activities.

Head4 Learning
Head4Arts is currently offering families and schools the opportunity to take part in the Pont Project – an international literacy project that uses folk tales from Wales and Italy as a way of increasing enjoyment of reading and connecting with other readers through a new app, Betwyll – send us an email to find out more!

Feeling crafty? Head4Arts has compiled a selection of how-to films on their YouTube channel

Head4 Opportunities

We have been working with freelance arts practitioners to create a series of social media “artist takeovers” showcasing and celebrating their work and contributions to Head4Arts.  Want to learn more?! Click here.

Head4 Health

Head4Arts has been working with voluntary organisations to offer creative experiences for individuals who may not have access to the internet, for example through providing “craft packs” containing materials and instructions to be included in community doorstep drop-off initiatives. Find out more about this scheme here.

Head4 The Future

Head4Arts celebrated Earth Hour online this year, our Earth Hour story and lantern making tutorial are still available to view here.

We hope you enjoy taking part in some of the above activities, we would love to see your photos and videos of you getting involved. Tag us on social media with #H4AMakes or email us with your creations!

Keep Calm and Get Creative

With arts events and activities being put on hold for the forseeable future, the creative community has responded with positivity and
flexibility by offering online activities, entertainment and support networks that people can engage with from home.   

We have started to compile a list of these fantastic initiatives and hope that this is a useful resource for you to maintain your creativity and stay connected during these unprecedented times. 

We hope to continue to build on this list – please let us know about any creative activity you are offering so we can share with others, contact us via Facebook / Twitter or by email: info@head4arts.org.uk  

Head4Arts Online Activities
Head4Arts’ regular online activities will be taking place via Zoom at the following times:

Celtic Café Intergenerational Music

Wednesdays: 4.30-6pm

Singalong with Ali Shone
Thursdays: 12.30-1.45pm

We would love you to join us – send us a message or contact info@head4arts.org.uk for details on how to take part.

Head4Arts Online Resources: 
How to make an origami butterfly 
Make a lantern for Earth Hour with Cindy Ward: Part 1, Part 2
Earth Hour story The Library of Life written and narrated by Tamar Eluned Williams with illustrations by Andy O’Rourke 

Pont Project – Stories released every Tuesday via Facebook Live and available to view on Head4Arts YouTube

Other Online Resources:
(please note that these are not affiliated with Head4Arts – please see individual link for further information) 

Artis Community – providing daily activities

Caerphilly Arts Development – Lockdown Creative Project – an invitation to creatively respond to a theme each week

Jukebox Collective – a programme of online hip hop dance classes, contact hello@jukeboxcollective.com for more information

Literature Wales with Tamar Eluned Williams – Story Cauldron / Crochan Stori, a bilingual Home Storytelling Kit for families. 

RCT Theatres – daily activities

 Pili Pala Arts Wales – Over 50’s Dance with Beth Ryland

Fiona’s Energy Moves Online – Nia Dance with Fiona Winter 

Huw Aaron – Daily Welsh Language drawing tutorials for children

Goldies Mini Sing & Smile sessions every Thursday on their Facebook page

I’m Thinking of You Cymru –  A series of artworks commissioned to explore, communicate, or try to make sense of the world as it is right now.

Sofa Stage Wales – Facebook TV Chanel – Regular performances to watch with opportunities for creatives to sign up to contribute 

Upbeat Music and Arts – bang your drum campaign – learn the keyworker samba

Ballet Cymru – Daily online tutorials with company dancers

Louby Lou’s Storytelling 

Storytelling Friday Facebook Page – Hosted by Beyond the Border International Storytelling Festival

 Cardiff Animation Festival – Quick Draw Animation Challenge 

Hijinx Online Festival – a free festival of theatre and film

Theatr Iolo – List of free creative resources for children and parents

National Theatre Wales – a new digital programme of work, including play readings and opportunities to create live theatre in digital spaces

Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru – a new programme offering digital Welsh-language cultural experiences

National Theatre at Home – watch NT plays on YouTube. A new play is released every Thursday and available to watch for a week.

Sherman Theatre – Interval, an evolving series of projects designed to promote new writing and support the artistic and freelance community 

National Dance Company Wales – Dance from home  

PHRAME Wales  – Instagram takeovers for photographers 

Creative Cardiff – list of creative resources 

Great British Home Chorus – music group for singers and instrumentalists  
Noel Fielding Art Club   
64 Million Artists #CreatetoConnect – daily creative challenges 

The Sofa Singers  – mass singing group 
Google Arts & Culture – Visit international museums from your home 

Artful resources to keep kids entertained and educated at home  

Whats on Stage – a list of plays, musicals and opera that can be streamed online for free

The Show Must Go On – stream Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals on YouTube. A new musical is released every Friday and available for 48 Hours

Tate Kids – Ideas for art projects at home, view galleries and explore artists

Online Support for the Arts Community 

Arts Council Wales 

Crafts Council Online Support 

Arts Professional Microsite for Covid 19