As part of York’s Culture Strategy, Make It York, York CVS, and City of York Council have come together to award funding of more than £60,000 to nineteen social and cultural initiatives across the city – with the aim of easing loneliness, isolation, and mental ill-health across the city.
The grants, which were made available via the Better Care Fund and Ways to Wellbeing, were set up in recognition of the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on people’s wellbeing – through shielding, self-isolation, and social distancing. This series of case studies profiles each of the 2021 recipients:
One of the projects which has been supported by the grants was Thunk-It Theatre’s ‘Common Ground: Back in the Room’ – a project which aimed to highlight shared experiences felt during Covid and build long-term, meaningful relationships to combat loneliness.
The project aimed to engage with participants aged 16-25 and 50+ in The Groves area who had been affected by isolation and loneliness, particularly those who were isolated due to physical, financial or social barriers.
The project included 9 workshops that explored creative communications such as letter writing, origami, and postcard creation, all facilitated by industry leaders with experience of delivering successful intergenerational work. This then formed an exhibition, held at Door 84, for friends, family and the Groves community to see, enjoy and celebrate.
During the workshops, tools were used to encourage communication between participants, allowing them to reflect on the impact of Covid but also to look forward to the future together, through a shared piece of art and ownership.
338 people engaged across the different activities, with one participant saying, “I had great fun each week, the activities were all interesting and engaging and I always had a great cup of tea. The sessions were always a highlight of my week, it was great to get out the house to meet people and get involved!”
The team at Thunk-It Theatre said: ‘During the various lockdowns, we developed a number of virtual community projects which although successful, had one thing missing – face-to-face connection. With the funding from Culture and Wellbeing York & Ways to Wellbeing we were able to bring the successful virtual project ‘Common Ground’ to Door 84 in The Groves. Over a period of four months, we ran creative workshops for people aged 16-25, 50+, and workshops for anyone of either age to join. These sessions culminated in a pulling together of the work created as an exhibition, held at Door 84 for friends, family, and the Groves community to come see, enjoy, and celebrate.
This project showcased the importance of face-to-face connection and creative spaces. The funding enabled us to facilitate a safe and successful project for community members in The Groves. Thank you.’