“You can be yourself.”
In September 2017, we set out a year of work that would allow us to discover why creativity matters to the people we work with. Our programme highlights included
- Urban Stories
- Transforming Tales
- Creative Clubs
- Creative Spaces
- Cranford Residency
- One new piece of original theatre – Emoji
- Mounted an exhibition around Loneliness in urban living at the Saatchi Gallery
- Put an installation inspired by mental health and Hans Christian Anderson into a local library
- Regenerated a run down military welfare community room into a pop up cafe for creative arts
- Hosted numerous sharings of work and joined community events across Hounslow.
We worked with 1674 people. A happy mix of children, young people and families. We created 73,000 opportunities for them to participate in sessions, projects and workshops. Over 30,000 people would have seen their work.
100% of participants asked said they felt more creative through the projects. 94.6 from one project alone identified had learnt something new from joining in.
Consistently, there was a theme that the benefits of creativity included interacting with others. The interactions ranged from the benefits of getting out of the house to the building of new friendships. An increased sense of well-being and happiness ran across many of our projects, in particular the Big Holiday project. Notably, in young people there was an increased sense of confidence. This was born out of trying something new or being in a different environment.
Creativity Matters to them because
- they learnt how to work in a group
- mix ideas
- make closer friends
- how more than older people experience loneliness
- to be more open
- being around people isn’t something I should be afraid of
- that my ideas have actually been heard
- putting ideas into perspective
Over the year we have
- given 128 children and young people an Arts Award
- offered one young person volunteering work next year
- helped realise the library as a space for culture and exhibition
- put 7 young people into first time employment
- Supported 8 parents to return to work or take up a new hobby
- worked with a former participant to design a new project for Autumn
- Launched an Arts and Wellness strand to our programme because of what we’ve learnt from our participants
There are so many reasons why creativity matters in the politically and economically fragile times we live in.
A child on our holiday project added to our evaluation ‘I like doing creative things. It feels like it fills my heart when I’m creative.” Wise words, as on that note, the question is not that it matters, more ‘What would we do without it?”. Creativity is joy, hope, change, conversation, imagination, ideas, potential and more. It is intrinsically linked to our wellness and sense of self.
In wellness, there is comfort- taking us neatly into our next programme of work.