On Saturday March 20th, a trail of handmade hands, honouring those who have supported city residents during the pandemic, will go live across Hull. Organised by local community group #WeMadeThis, the Helping Hands trail features creations by, among others, care homes, schools, nurseries, community groups, churches, libraries and families, in nearly 100 locations in Hull and a little beyond.
The idea for the trail came from group member Sue Conboy. Following a request for ideas for projects for 2021 in #WeMadeThis’ Facebook group, hers was one of a number of suggestions based around the Covid-19 pandemic, showing a clear wish among the membership to reflect on the situation, and to give thanks to those who have lent a helping hand. Sue’s suggestion was felt to be particularly suitable in view of #WeMadeThis’ overriding aim to provide projects that are accessible to all, which this project has certainly proved to be, given the wide range of participants involved.
One group that is particularly well-represented, thanks to the efforts of committee member and star recruiter Jane Hawes, are care homes. One of the care homes participating is Foxglove, who are having their display at the old post office in Sutton Church Street. The residents have really enjoyed participating, says staff member Annemarie Bone-O’Loughlin: “Everyone has loved being involved in something we could all do together to say thank you to everyone. We enjoyed making different displays out of hands.”
At the other end of the age spectrum, participants include nurseries and childminders, such as Childminder Margaret Lonsdale, whose contribution can be found on Scalby Grove. They also became ‘helping hands’ themselves by making extra hands for the display at Fred Moore Library. About their involvement in the project, Margaret Lonsdale says: “As well as having fun there have been lots of learning opportunities for the children here. They have developed their vocabulary, language and creative skills, learned about the importance of helping others and being kind and have enjoyed joining in with something in their community.”
For some participants, their reason for participating was a very personal one. Elizabeth Heywood, who co-coordinated the display at Pearson’s on Princes Avenue, speaks of her son who is a key worker in retail: “I know how unsafe he and his colleagues have felt, but they have kept going day in day out. I want to thank shop workers, teachers, delivery drivers and all the others unable to work from home, including the bus and train drivers who get them to work. And of course, the incredible NHS staff who put themselves at such risk for so many. I think it’s a wonderful way to show our gratitude and respect.”
Contributors also include organisations which have themselves been ‘helping hands’, such as Hull’s Homeful Helpers, a small community group in the Springbank area supporting people with free food parcels, particularly elderly residents. Corinna Paul, who heads up this group, created her window display with her son. About her reasons for participating, she says: “I came across this and thought it’s a such a lovely idea to display hands and thank people who have also worked, paid or voluntary, during these hard times. So many people and groups have done so much and the people of Hull really do come together to help others I believe in a crisis. Me and my youngest son made our hands for our window. My son is 11 years old and has missed so much schooling and it’s really good to be creative. He enjoyed it and it cheered him up.”
The Helping Hands trail is on until Saturday April 10th and is free to access. A map and list of locations will be available to download from the website in time for the start of the trail: http://wemadethishull.wordpress.com.
[Miranda van Rossum – WeMadeThis]