Good News Stories - Denbigh Carnival Craft and ‘Well-being Bags’11-June-2020
Our Curriculum Delivery Officer and Youth Work Tutor (and passionate advocate for Play) Ann Smith, has worked with several fabulous volunteers raising funds and supplying craft bags to 3 to 18 years old living in the town of Denbigh, North Wales.
Ann told us, “Our aim was to create 150 bags with enough craft materials to keep children and young people crafting and playing for a couple of hours. Parents and Carers were encouraged to participate, get outdoors and create chalk games and make the bird feeders with children! Funding applications were made to the Town Council, National Lottery Awards for All and Grŵp Cynefin (the local housing association) and this secured us £4,500.00. Within 2 weeks we had been able to deliver 175 bags - we have delivered over 250 bags to date.”
Inside the bags was a selection of chalk, paint, crayons, paper plates, wooden spoons, feathers, wiggly eyes , crepe paper, picture frames to decorate, bubbles, glue and a variety of other ‘bits and bobs’. These were accompanied by a ‘green bag’ containing soil, vegetable or flower seeds, potting cups and bird seed. Chocolate from Lidl and 200 brand new books from Morrisons supermarkets were also gifted.
Following the success of the funding bids, the project is now being evaluated; in addition with a further submission for funding, the prospect of creating bags for adults is now also being explored. Ann explained: “All the evaluations received so far comment on how positive the project has been to the families. Participants and beneficiaries have told us that ‘having the resources provided something different to do apart from schoolwork - a ‘getaway’ from coronavirus being constantly in our thoughts’. Other feedback has reflected the way the project has given a sense of ‘freedom’ through creativity and an opportunity to 'go wild'!
The project was then to take a further turn following an approach by the National Youth Advocacy Service (NYAS) who asked what the project was all about. Ann continued, “The Director [of NYAS] knows I am a Youth Worker and we spoke about creating a more bespoke bag for 16-25-year olds living in the area. We looked at gifting the bags to young people who may be struggling at home / living in supported housing. And so, NYAS gifted the Carnival with £500 and I am now creating the bags with the help of the staff and young people who access Grŵp Cynefin supported housing scheme and West Rhyl Young People’s VIVA project.”
The Carnival Craft and Well-being bags have also now been given to vulnerable families via primary school support and informal referrals.
Ann reflects, “The problems presented to the group throughout Covid-19 are far outweighed by the successes. Our volunteer group is now stronger. We have found out more about each other and we all have different skills that we bring to the project. We have even increased our number and I have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the team.”
Well done to Ann and all of the volunteers. Funding support and this initiative has brought the community closer together. And when we’re all keeping our distance that’s a welcome tonic!
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