From March to June 2021 we worked collaboratively with our local community to produce a range of activities, support networks, and events that offered assistance to those looking to reconnect after Covid-19. This ranged from encouraging artists to work intensively with small numbers of specifically identified participants to a large-scale postal art project. Find out more about how this project began and the events/activities included in the programme via the links below.  

Early in 2021 Arts Council England funded projects including Creative People and Places, Celebrating Age and National Portfolio Organisations were invited to design projects that would use arts and culture to reduce loneliness and isolation.  East Durham Creates, along with many other CPP Projects, co-designed and co-produced a programme of delivery specifically tasked with exploring ways that culture could be used post-Covid to address the current loneliness crisis.

An art and digital project led by local artist Ellie Matthews, which encouraged individuals to create postcards for those in the community who were isolated and/or lonely. Individuals engaged via starter packs, utilising digital participation to engage with artists, learn new skills, and share their creations. Incredibly, the project reached almost 1,500 people in person and almost 10,000 digitally! Find out more, here.

We invited Sharon Bailey to revisit the original participants of her 2019 project which explored the loneliness crisis facing older adults. The Covid-19 situation had amplified the situation of many of the original participants, as well as causing the original viewers of the work to experience isolation due to shielding/lockdown.  Sharon worked with nine older adults, providing regular visits, letters, art packs, and cultural experiences on doorsteps whilst journaling about the participant's experiences of lockdown.  Find out more here.

Our Community Panel designed a brief aimed at working with adults living in care homes and supporting the reconnection with families post-covid. Mad Alice Theatre was selected due to their tried and tested Jukebox Uke project, which involved creating individualised concerts for residents and family members designed around the individual's memories and favourite songs. Find out more here.

Six of our Cultural Hubs designed hyper-local responses to identify and support those who were socially isolated. These ranged from arts pack delivery and letter writing projects to samba drumming in sheltered housing, find out more here. Overall, the various strands of commissions reached 340 people!

We worked with talented artist Diane Wason to design an art pack for the half-term to keep schoolchildren (and adults!) entertained. The packs were based around the concept of utilising rubbish to create gifts in order to connect with others in the community. 200 of these packs were distributed during this project via two newer cultural hubs. Find out more here.

Collaborating with Jack Drum Arts we facilitated the creation of two digital ukulele sessions for participants to learn and connect through music with the aim being a final session hosted in person. Find out more about these sessions here.