Creative and community organisations in Stoke-on-Trent have been awarded funding to bring communities together through creativity in lockdown.

The micro-grants, of up to £200, were provided by Stoke-on-Trent City Council in collaboration with Voluntary Arts, to support organisations that want to help local people ease the stresses of lockdown together, by expressing themselves creatively.

All of the projects will take place throughout May 2020 as part of the national Get Creative At Home campaign, spearheaded by organisations including: BBC Arts, Voluntary Arts and Arts Council England.

Location specific projects include community gardening in Stoke-on-Trent, a ceramic street gallery in Hartshill and cross stitch rainbows in Penkhull. Other projects are aimed at groups of people feeling particularly isolated at this time, including creator packs for mothers, craft tutorials for adult and child carers, poetry and crafts for the elderly and non-tech savvy, and filmmaking for young people aged 18-25.

All of the video tutorials, live tutorials and instruction packs created for these projects will be available to view and download during May, so that everyone has the opportunity to either replicate or take part in the projects in their own homes and communities.

Councillor Lorraine Beardmore, Stoke-on-Trent City Council cabinet member for culture, sport and leisure said “It’s wonderful to see these eight creative projects, and we know there are many more going on across the Stoke-on-Trent Community every day, under their own steam and in their own communities, and we want to shout about that. It is so important to recognise the hard work and dedication that volunteer groups show to their communities, places and spaces at any time, and particularly at a time like this, when coming together to be creative can be intensely therapeutic.”

Nicola Winstanley, West Midlands Development Officer for Voluntary Arts England, is managing the local campaign alongside the City Council’s Culture Tourism and Events Department.

Nicola said: “If you are delivering remote creative projects during lockdown with your friends, groups and communities, we want to know about them so we can feature them on the Visit Stoke website for all to see. And, if you take part in any local creative projects during lockdown, use the hashtag #MyStokeStory when you share your experiences across social media channels, to add to the growing archive of the city’s creative response to living through these most challenging times.”

The-Roaming-Poets-Stoke-on-TrentOne of the projects will encourage people to share poetry via the telephone for “Telepoem Thursday” on Thursday 28 May.

Organiser of Telepoem Thursday, Gabriella Gay says: “Telepoem Thursday has has been created to encourage people to share poetry on the phone, as we recognise that there are many people in Staffordshire and Cheshire who are extra isolated as they are unable to access the computer. We’ve held some workshops and now we want as many people to take part.

“On Telepoem Thursday (28th May 2020) The Roaming Poets are encouraging you to share a poem with someone you know on the phone. This can be your own poem or your favourite poem. Poems can be texted too.

“As part of Voluntary Arts, #GetCreativeAtHome festival, during the week beginning Monday the 25th of May The Roaming Poets will provide two 0800 numbers that people can call to hear poems read by Staffordshire poets. The line will be live until the 17th June.”

Details of the 0800 numbers for The Roaming Poets can be found on their Facebook Page – Telepoem Thursday

**To get in touch about featuring your creative project on the Get Creative At Home Campaign email nicola@vaengland.org.uk or call Nicola on 07748 718 230.

The eight projects are now featured on the Visit Stoke website which also includes details of virtual tours of The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery and other Stoke-on-Trent attractions.

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