In April 2020, in the middle of the first lockdown, CCI launched a new programme called Creative Care in partnership with Fullscope, a consortium of organisations working to support the mental health of young people in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
Five artists - Filipa Pereira-Stubbs, Caroline Wendling, Hilary Cox Condron, Sally Todd, and Susanne Jasilek - worked together, devising invitations for people of different ages, to explore the spaces people found themselves confined to, and especially the natural world on the doorstep.
We created a suite of resources designed to support communities at a time when so many people were struggling with isolation and cut off from normal support networks.
Recognising that creativity and nature are vital for good mental health and wellbeing, we set out to offer playful ways of encouraging activities that needed no special skills or materials and suggested ways to engage with the nature on our doorsteps. These resources - all free to download - focus on exploring ways to reconnect with all our senses and with the pleasures of noticing, listening, making and shaping in order to express our own ideas. More than 230 creative care packs - like the one pictured - were sent out to some of the most vulnerable families, and a further 680 invitations downloaded from the website. Many have short films for sharing alongside..
Other resources were co-created by young artists from the Kite Trust and members of the Cambs Youth Panel who worked with CCI to develop new versions of creative care packs called Outside the Box and Piece of Mind respectively.
Download here the executive summary of the evaluation of this stage of the programme.
This project was developed in partnership with Fullscope and its member organisations, and also with Anglia Ruskin University, Centre 33, Cambs Youth Panel, the Kite Trust, and PHACE (Peterborough local cultural education partnership) and with colleagues in Early Help at Peterborough County Council and Greenwood Academies Trust. Fullscope’s model for co-production underpins the work.
Being invited to be part of this project made me feel less alone…..you don’t have to be good at art, you can just play around with materials…I’m normally the person who asks ‘what am I meant to be doing? but with the creative care box you’re told you can do what you want with it…I could be my own person and do what I wanted. I will carry on using the box…I will take it out whenever I’m stressed or if I feel creative.
Feedback from young people at Centre 33
I wanted to get involved in this project as I find art to be incredibly therapeutic and hoped my contribution could help others explore their queerness through art. I’ve had lots of fun coming up with my offer and thinking about how nature supports us in our day-to-day life.
Noah, The Kite Trust
This project has given us a way to provide activities for some of our younger service users at a time when we can’t get together face to face for games, art and discussions like we have previously. Being able to have these activities shaped by some of their older peers creates meaningful connections between different age groups of young people at the Kite Trust and a chance for young adults to develop their artistic practice.
Pip Gardener, Chief Executive of the Kite Trust
I found having something to concentrate on other than just online school really boosted my mental health. It really helped to be talking to new people too, especially in such a strange time when I found out about my exams being cancelled and not going back to school. It was a really great thing to focus on and forget my worries for a bit.
Cambs Youth Panel member