Sheffield arts group Ignite Imaginations helps vulnerable city families cope with Covid stress

A Sheffield arts organisation has distributed 2,500 activity packs to help vulnerable city families cope during the Covid crisis.

Wednesday, 2nd September 2020, 12:30 am

Back in April, Ignite Imaginations began giving out bags bursting with art and creativity to vulnerable families, starting initially with 100 packs distributed throughout the Firth Park and Sharrow areas.

The organisation has since gone on to create and deliver more than 2,500 Creativity Packs across Sheffield.

Over the last five months, 10 professional artists have created batches of packs each containing between one and five unique creative activities.

Louise Conlan getting ready to deliver some of the Creativity Packs

Each pack contains all the instructions and materials needed for the imaginative activities inside, which have included clay modelling, painting, mask making, creating your own board games and puppet making.

The packs have then been distributed to partners working in areas across the city where access to resources for families may be more limited.

Ignite Imaginations has worked with partners including Family Voice, Sharrow Community Forum, Sheffield Libraries, Fir Vale Foodbank and SOAR Works to ensure the packs get delivered to families most in need.

The most recent delivery was in partnership with SOAR Works with funding from the Healthy Holidays programme.

Yasmin Saddington with her artwork, Minnie Mouse

Three artists created 500 packs each, which were delivered to SOAR Works and distributed along with food parcels across the Parson Cross and Firth Park area to families in need.

The charity has been able to create the high-quality packs thanks to funding from BBC Children in Need, Arts Council England Emergency Fund, Yorkshire Building Society Community Fund and Sheffield City Council.

Vicki Rolley, project co-ordinator from Ignite Imaginations, said: “Engaging with art and getting creative can increase mental well-being and reduce stress.

"For this reason, art is more important than ever in this time of uncertainty.

"While we have been mostly unable to take free creative workshops to areas we would normally work in over the summer, we hope these packs will bring those benefits to families with limited access to materials and online resources.”

Any community organisations interested in partnering with Ignite in the delivery of similar packs to vulnerable people or families over the next few months can email [email protected]

*Seventy artists with learning disabilities and autism from South Yorkshire arts organisation ArtWorks have organised an online exhibition showcasing the artworks they have created whilst shielding during lockdown.

During the lockdown, the artists have been using materials sent out by ArtWorks to create inspiring individual projects, complete submissions for various competitions, as well as engage in Zoom sessions led by the ArtWorks staff.

A small group of artists, known as The Bradgate Band, have also written, recorded, and composed their own album, titled Livin la Vida Lockdown.

The album cover features artwork created by artists at Steps Residential Care with support from Christopher Johns.

Visit the ArtWorks online exhibition at www.artworks-sy.co.uk/virtual-gallery or buy a copy of the album from September 18 to November 20 at www.artworks-sy.co.uk/shop

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