Artlink seeks support to bring back successful Creative Connections project

Artlink Creative Connections 2019
Participants enjoying a workshop during Creative Connections in 2019. Photo: Jerome Whittingham @photomoments

Visual arts charity Artlink Hull, which operates its gallery on Princes Avenue, is planning to restart its Creative Connections project, once again bringing arts and friendship into the lives of people with disabilities. The project needs your support, however.

“The Covid-19 crisis has suspended so many vital services for disabled people. Last year, Artlink ran a Creative Connections project with people in disability social care centres to help combat isolation and loneliness. Now, as the pandemic has put a halt on so many activities, we’re really worried about the negative impact on many groups and individuals,” said Chris Twigg, CEO and Creative Director at Artlink Hull.

“Our aim is to restart our Creative Connections project, helping to bring communities together again to help combat isolation and loneliness,” said Chris.

A number of groups have been identified to join together for this year’s Creative Connections project – if funding support can be secured.

“We’ve partnered up with Danny’s Dream, a specialist day-care centre for adults with profound and multiple disabilities; Sight Support, the region’s main provider of a wide range of practical and emotional services to people with varying degrees of sight loss; LAFFS at Bellfield House, a care facility for children and young adults with disabilities; and Victoria House, part of the Disabilities Trust, a residential home for people with complex and high dependency needs,” added Chris.

Dozens of people took part in last year’s creative project, which resulted in an exhibition being displayed in Artlink’s west Hull gallery space. Many friendships were made during the project, and people found new artistic skills and new confidence.

Artlink Creative Connections 2019 exhibition
Visitors enjoying last year’s Creative Connections exhibition at Artlink’s gallery. Photo: Jerome Whittingham @photomoments

Sandra Ackroyd, CEO of Sight Support, recalls the success of last year’s Creative Connections project.

She said: “Working with Artlink was a huge success. Feedback from our services-users tells us it helped to build confidence and explore things they haven’t been able to for many years. The group spoke about art giving them a respite from challenges they face, while at the same time helping to lift their mood. Working with skilled artists from Artlink meant that the arts activities were adapted and tailored to suit the needs of our client group and a range of visual impairments.

“Being able to offer our service-users this type of opportunity helps us fulfil our goal to enrich the lives of people living with sight loss in Hull and East Yorkshire.

“We really hope to be working with Artlink again in the very near future.”

Current social-distancing requirements will make this year’s project different, and maybe even more challenging, but the team at Artlink are creative in their solutions.

Chris Twigg explained: “We will need to adapt the way we work around new CV-19 safety guidelines. Some of the activities can be done by distance, so one idea is to create art activity packs which we’ll send out in an accessible package suitable for people’s individual needs.”

In order to deliver this project again, at a time when its isolation-busting creativity is needed more than ever, Artlink is asking for public support.

Aviva Community Fund has selected Creative Connections as one of their featured crowd-funder projects.

“We are now aiming to raise £2,500 to help re-start the project again. We’ll need to meet our pledge target of £2,500 by 15th July for the project to go ahead,” said Chris.

Donations to the Creative Connections crowd-funding campaign can be made here:

https://www.avivacommunityfund.co.uk/creative-connections

“After being quite isolated for a number of years due to many factors, it has given me back my faith in people again. I would be so sad if the project was to not run again, it is a real lifeline for me. I think it has saved me from a year of depression and isolation,” commented a 2019 participant.

[Jerome Whittingham – editor HULL IS THIS]

HULL IS THIS WELLBEING category is sponsored by NHS Hull Clinical Commissioning Group