We
would like to thank Skills Training Group for delivering first aid training to our staff – congratulations to those on our team who completed their training.

Kindness is one of our core values. Part of caring for our colleagues, the community, and the young people on our programmes, is being aware of health & safety and prepared to administer first aid.


The full content of the training covered by our team is below:

Emergency First Aid at Work (EFAW) – 1 Day:

  • Acting safely, promptly and effectively in an emergency
  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
  • Treating unconscious causality (including seizure)
  • Wounds and bleeding
  • Shock
  • Minor injuries
  • Choking
  • Preventing cross-infection, recording incidents and actions and the use of available equipment
  • Use of automated external defibrillators (AED)

During the past few months we’ve been running a
creative arts project called Velcro Poetry in North Ayrshire schools. The
project was funded by Education Scotland & Education Scotland Creative Wellbeing Fund & our delivery partners were North Ayrshire Literacy & English. We’re delighted to
share the wonderful artwork & poetry that has
been created by pupils from Saint Anthony’s Primary School, Bridget Primary, Saint John’s RC & St Matthews Academy. Poets Rab Wilson and
Simon Lamb from Approx 21 Words
supported the pupils to write poetry during phase 1 of the project.

During phase 2 of Velcro Poetry, pupils created
artwork inspired by their poems. Techniques such as lino printing, collage,
heat printing and clay modelling were used. Pupils were encouraged to express
their feelings through art.

Pupils participated in Velcro Poetry sound workshops, where their poems were performed & recorded. Soundscapes were created, using spoken word, music & percussion. Listen to the sound recordings on the project Soundcloud.

Each pupil who participated is being gifted a printed Velcro Poetry book, which contains a selection of their poems & artwork.

Special thanks to all the pupils, teachers & tutors involved!

We are delighted to have been awarded funding from the UK Government’s
Community Renewal Fund to deliver a range of projects in North Ayrshire.

Impact Arts have worked in the area for
over 20 years, with our office and workshop base at Bank Street in Irvine and we plan to deliver a number of key projects that have already demonstrated
bring tangible positive benefits. Chief Executive Officer Fiona Doring, said;
“We know what amazing social, economic and cultural impacts can be achieved by
working creatively and partnering with North Ayrshire’s people, communities and
organisations. To have this level of support will allow us to work with more
people across Ayrshire and with more organisations to bring about further
positive change.”

There are many opportunities for local
people and organisations to get involved in the projects, either as
participants, to refer to or partner on work, as well as employment
opportunities.

Initially, we are are seeking
referrals for young people who need support with their mental wellbeing for
our ‘Make Space’ project. The project will combine therapeutic arts
activities with wellbeing techniques through a range of virtual 1-1 and group
sessions, which can be accessed at a time to suit the individual. The project
has already demonstrated just how impactful this approach can be, in building
resilience and reducing anxiety.

There will also be a range of
employability programmes for unemployed young people aged 16-26 who are
struggling to get qualifications or have barriers to progressing to the next
stage in their lives. Through these programmes we will be offering
something different. Something that as a result of creative activity,
supports young people to gain in confidence, learn new skills and move on to
college, further training or employment. We are keen to talk to
anyone who feels that they, or someone they know, might be interested in
getting involved.

Additionally, we are also
interested in speaking to any artists or makers living or working in North
Ayrshire who would welcome the opportunity to develop their skills and
knowledge of working in community settings through our Makers & Artists
Mentoring Programme. From previous work in North Ayrshire we are aware how
training, mentoring and work experience in community settings can bring about
real positive social, economic and cultural changes to the people, towns and
villages of the area. Keen to hear from artists and makers who are
interested in taking part in the programme – whether they have an art degree or
not.

If you are part of or know a community project that is interested in
exploring how a creative approach can bring about improvements to the people or
area in which they work, then we would love to hear from you as well. This might include improving an unloved piece of land; bringing music or craft
activities to groups; using creative thinking to explore community needs and
more – there really are so many opportunities for people and organisations to
get involved, so please do get in touch.

For more information,
call Impact Arts on 0141 575 3001, email [email protected]

Letters to the Earth is a global campaign that encourages
everyone to write a letter to their planet, expressing their
emotions in response to the climate emergency.

Its inclusivity is what drew our Craft Café team to the campaign – older people often feel like their voices aren’t
heard, that their experiences of the world aren’t valued and they wanted to show
just how important their voices are. Members have been taking part in workshops encouraging important conversations about
the climate crisis and the Cop26 summit. For many of the members it was a rare
opportunity to be included in these important conversations, where without
judgement they shared their fears about the future; how they find hope; and what one
thing they would change to make the world a better place. The members were
encouraged to write letters to the earth, to an animal, to their grandchildren,
to express these concerns and hopes for the future. One of our members said
that, “I find hope being here around all of you and talking”.


Because of the project’s inclusivity the team knew it would be a
wonderful opportunity to work with other communities and age groups. Our
members participated in these workshops alongside students from the Glasgow
School of Art
, many of whom were from all over the world, and local primary
school children from Pirie Park Primary. One of the Craft Café members at the workshop with
the GSA students said “I find hope in the young ones” as the participants from
the school of art listened, encouraged and shared in these conversations with
our members.

The Pirie Park Primary school children were encouraged to talk
about their favourite animals and places to play in nature and the members
worked with them and encouraged them to draw and write and share their feelings
about the world. Intergenerational work is so important, especially when
addressing issues like the climate crisis. The workshops were a wonderful
sharing of feelings, values and experiences, all of which were listened to and
valued, and the artwork and letters they produced are beautiful.

 

 

Members have been making art work out of the letters that are now on display alongside their other COP26 art projects at a shop window on the corner of Crossloan Street and
Uist Street in Govan, next to the Dig In Community Green Grocers. The display of recycled plastic, brings warmth, colour and a talking point for the community to enjoy. We would encourage you to go down and see the window display if you can!

As part
of a collaboration between the University of Glasgow and Impact Arts, researchers
and artists spent three weeks with 21 young people from Glasgow, exploring
their perspectives on health inequalities through drawing, printmaking, and
photography.

What
are health inequalities and why are young people’s perspectives important?

There are many factors that shape a person’s
health. Many of the most important influences are not things that people choose
to do (e.g. diet, exercise) but are driven by circumstances outside of their
control. People living in the most affluent areas of Scotland are likely to
enjoy many more years of good health than those living in the least affluent
areas. These unfair differences in health experiences and outcomes across the
population are known as “health inequalities”.

Relatively little is known about what young
people think about the existence of health inequalities and what should be done
to address the issue. Young people’s perspectives are particularly important
now. The Covid-19 pandemic, which has worsened health inequalities in all areas
of life, had a disproportionate impact on young people with disruptions to
their education, mental health, relationships, and future outlooks.

In the Creative Insights project young people
in Glasgow and Leeds were invited to explore these issues together with artists
and researchers. The Glasgow groups worked with visual artists from Impact Arts
and the Leeds groups with performance artists at Leeds Playhouse.

What
did we do in Creative Insights?

Over the course of three, 4-day online
workshops, 21 young people from across Glasgow collaborated with artists and
researchers in group discussions and creative activities to explore diverse
understandings of what shapes health and our priorities for potential solutions
to the enduring existence of health inequalities.

In preparation, young people received creative
packs to their door, including lots of exciting materials for sketching,
collage, and printmaking.

Covid restrictions meant that groups were only
able to meet online. Artist Jack Stancliffe led creative activities to help get
to know each other, and make everyone comfortable with sharing their
experiences, feedback, and artworks over Zoom. Warm-up exercises, such as continuous
line self-portraits helped everyone get started with working creatively and
sharing their work online.

On the first day, we explored our experiences
of lockdown through a series of dialectograms: bird’s eye view drawings of the
spaces we frequented, experienced, or were excluded from during the pandemic.
The intricate line drawings young people produced revealed the nuance and
poignancy of common experiences related to school closures, shifting
relationships, and the importance of green spaces.

On day 2 and day 3, we worked with young
people to create posters that encapsulated their demands for change through
collage and printmaking techniques. Creative facilitator Beth Farmer introduced
us to the basics of block printing using Styrofoam sheets.

The posters clearly demonstrate the voice of
Generation Z, calling for change, demanding a seat at the table, and advocating
for more equitable and inclusive policy decision-making.

Each week culminated in a showcase event,
where young people shared their posters, their creative process, and articulated
their demands in front of an audience of researchers and industry professionals.

Lead Researcher, Gillian Fergie, said “Working
with Impact Arts and the incredible young artists that engaged in Creative
Insights has been a really valuable experience for me. The artworks they
produced make clear that now, more than ever, it is important that
decision-makers make space to hear from young people as key stakeholders in
future health and social policy decisions.”

What happens next?

We are currently working to collate everything
the young people shared with us, their reflections and all their artworks. If
you are interested in hearing more about the project please do get in touch: [email protected]

Head to the website featuring examples of the amazing creative
content produced gla.ac.uk/creativeinsights

This work was supported by the Economic and
Social Research Council and the Arts and Humanities Research Council [ES/S001913/1].

Jenny joined Make It Your Own as she had lost her job during the Covid-19 lock down
restrictions and was struggling with her mental health. She felt she had lost
her independence and had overwhelming feelings of anxiety and depression. She
really wanted her home to be a space she could relax in but didn’t know where to
start. Jenny lived with her boyfriend who is also care experienced and in a
similar situation where he had also lost his job and was suffering with severe
anxiety. Both were feeling stuck.

During covid-19 lockdown MIYO ran virtually and Jenny took part in the online sessions. She was chatty and open about her mental health during her online digital
sessions and had lots of ideas about what she would like her house to be like
but struggled to focus on one idea and didn’t know where to start. Her house
was cluttered and it was overwhelming her.

Jenny started with a creative air dry session and it gave her a boost and
she found it relaxing to create more clay trinkets in her evenings. During
Jenny’s sessions she preferred chatting through her week, then making plans for
organising her home. Jenny had complained about having too much rubbish in her
kitchen as she hadn’t been recycling and let the bins overflow. Her first buy
was storage and recycle bins for her kitchen. Jenny commented within a week that she
had started cooking again because the kitchen was clear and it gave her
motivation to do more.

Her next project was the bathroom. She disliked the
colour and design on the bathroom tiles and her bathroom floor was all marked.
Jenny ordered specialist paint and painted her tiles and floor giving the
bathroom a complete makeover. She also bought lights for her toilet and is now
really delighted with the final outcome. Jenny’s boyfriend was inspired by what
Jenny was doing and asked to join MIYO as well. Between both their sessions they became
much more motivated and encouraged each other to do more.

“Doing
MIYO has really made us more motivated to keep the house nice. It feels like
home now.” –
Jenny

Just as Jenny was completing her final session she was able to start back
working and commented that having the house look nice and the kitchen clear she
feels so much better coming home. She can relax on her days off and even makes
herself packed lunches now the kitchen is clear and she enjoys cooking again.

“It’s
been really good for us, we are working as a team to get the house nice instead
of just staying in bed or watching telly all day, now we are looking at what we
can do to make it nice.” –
Jenny

Over the past 5 years through funding from Our Bright Future & the National Lottery Community Fund, Impact Arts have been running an environmental employability programme for young people across Scotland.

Creative Pathways aims to teach young people about design and environmental art while providing them with invaluable hands-on experience in their local community and inspiring the next generation of environmental leaders.

In doing so, developing their confidence and resilience to
influence decisions at local and national levels. This young, ambitious and
capable movement is ensuring this generation’s voice is heard in the current
debates around environmental improvements and a resource-efficient economy.

Impact Arts have worked with over 60 organisations/artists
over the past 5 years to deliver Creative Pathways, introducing unemployed young
people with little or no experience of environmental issues to nature,
environmental awareness and green skills through practical, creative and fun
projects. As well as building confidence and developing employability skills,
the project has provided a lasting legacy for many local communities by
creating new urban/green spaces.

The Our Bright
Future
programme has also been gathering strong evidence about how
we can support the development of the environment and young people using a
resource efficient and sustainable ‘green’ economy. More than a hundred
organisations have contributed to the wider Our Bright Future movement by
sharing evidence, learning and knowledge helping to inform the choices made at
local, regional, and national levels in the UK.

“Working with partners across Scotland, has allowed us to
give young people the creative skills and practical experience to tackle
environmental challenges and empower them to work towards a brighter future for
themselves and their communities.”,
Fiona Doring, CEO

Over the past 5 years of Creative Pathways Impact Arts has:

  • Engaged with over 600 young people
  • Helped over 350 young people gain an
    accreditation
  • Transformed 15 urbans & green spaces
  • Helped over 400 young people move on to a
    positive destination

Our film, ‘A Tangled Mess of Beauty’ showcases just some of
the work from the past 5 years of our OBF work where you can hear from young
people involved in the programme itself.

In 2016 Enrico Bellazzecca started working with Craft Café Govan and its members as part of his PhD studies at the Yunus Centre at Glasgow Caledonian University, researching how the Craft Café impacts members health and well-being. He has since completed his PhD and his research on the Craft Café. 90,000 words later, his thesis (in 2 volumes) is complete! The thesis is due to be published in the British Library and we wanted to share some of the conclusions from the thesis and what motivates Enrico.

What was the aim of the research with the Craft Café?

The aim was to see what the health benefits are of attending the Craft Café and how this is achieved. I looked at how it effects mental health and mood and how it affects physical health as well as the social gain.

How did you carry out your research?

I spent a lot of time at Craft Café in Govan, attending sessions, getting to know the members, their motivation for going along and what it gives them in return, as well as the structure and routines of the workshops. After becoming familiar with the place, I carried out a series of interviews with members. Following this my research became more focused, with the help of 10 members. I asked them to keep diaries for 10 days, monitoring both mood and physical activity. In total 3 years has been spent at the Craft Café, gathering research.

From a range of observational, conversational and monitoring research, in-depth analysis could be made of what is the Craft Café effect!

What were the conclusions from your research?

The research concluded the following points;

Craft Café is a place where the members feed included. It’s a place where there is choice to do your own thing or take part in projects. It’s also a place where there is support, whether is be what someone is making or what someone is going through; sharing problems, challenges or the positive things in life.

“These points lead to members continuing to attend and feeling that they are part of something bigger. “Being in an environment where you are listened to, where you are supported, where you are encouraged, you are put into long term projects that actually triggers interest, triggers motivation, brings goals, expectations as well and then leads to celebrations, exhibitions. I think that was really the key in how the programme is designed and activities are carried out, that is the key message.”

All of these elements positively affect mood and health. These are things the members and staff know, but now this has been thoroughly evidenced. We have been very fortunate to have such in-depth academic research done about the Craft Café that we would not have been able to do ourselves.

What motivates you and what’s next for Enrico?

Over the years I have studied social sciences and am interested in health, believing that everyone should have fair access to the things that keep them healthy and that things should be more fairly distributed in society. That is what drew me to Craft Café in the first place. I am also interested in the health of older adults because often as we get older we can become more vulnerable through ill health, so this is where the attention is needed to promote independence.

“Aging is a matter of process, we all age, we all reach that stage in our lives – hopefully, and I think it is really important to think holistically on the whole spectrum, and I think we shouldn’t deny any rights to any groups of people.

It’s been a fantastic 3 years together. You made my PhD possible and I will never forget your kindness. I have always felt welcome and supported by each of you. Thank you!”

10
exceptional Makers and Artists have been on a professional training and
mentoring journey for the past 9 months, using their creativity and newfound
skills to collaborate with 20 community groups in North Ayrshire.

A showcase of
their work is taking place at beautiful Barony Centre, from Monday 14th
Saturday 26th June
and we are encouraging the public to go along and
check it out!

Delivered by Impact Arts on behalf of Craft Town Scotland,
West Kilbride, The Makers & Artists Mentoring Programme (M&) has
been training ten Makers/Artists for the past 9 months. Working with Makers/Artists
who are currently unemployed or under-employed, and focusing on a structured
programme of training and hands-on experience in participatory arts practice,
reaching up to 300 people in communities across North Ayrshire via bespoke
projects.

Artist and
participant Katie Lowe said; “I joined M& as I felt that it was an
amazing opportunity to explore community arts and discover more outside my own
discipline of silver jewellery. I have never wanted to, or felt motivated
focusing on one thing. I have really enjoyed motivating others to have a go at
drawing within my community arts projects. Feedback has been so positive and
many have said that they find drawing relaxing, good for the mind and
meditative. Some have even said they will continue to keep drawing in a sketch
book, which is extremely encouraging! I have really pushed sculpting and
printing as much as I could during this past year.”

The group have been working with Schools and community
groups across North Ayrshire on various different projects, including;

Primary 7’s from Hayocks
Primary
in Stevenson, where they pupils have been decorating fabric flags
to brighten up schools gates. The classes are studying WW2 at the moment with a
theme around hope and transitioning from a dark time to a more uplifting time as
well as the changes coming out of lockdown.

St Anthony’s Primary,
in Saltcoats, through North Ayrshire Active Schools programme, the P6s are
exploring clay figures and shapes, and re-imagining a story inspired by a
ceramic scavenger hunt around the school yard.

South Ardrossan
Larder & Food Bank
have been taking part in abstract line drawing
challenges and a scavenger hunt book to inspire children to see their everyday
places a little bit differently.

They have also worked with residents at Abbotsford Nursing Home in Ardrossan, running craft activities,
including decoupage glass jars, ‘painting with scissors’ collages and stitched
coasters.

These are just some of the amazing groups the markers and
artists have been working with across North Ayrshire. If you want to come along
and see some of the work then be sure to head along to The Barony Centre
between the 14th – 26th June.

Kay Hall, from
West Kilbride Community Initiative Ltd, said; “It has been such a privilege for Craft Town Scotland to be able to
offer this project particularly during such challenging times. We have
enjoyed watching the educational programme roll out, offering creativity and
business skills, and to see experienced mentors encouraging individual
development and providing support. The group of 10 artists and mentors have
created a diverse network and bring many creative experiences to be shared with
community groups. I am looking forward to seeing these creative arts projects
documented and displayed in the ‘Create Connect Celebrate Exhibition’ at the
Barony Centre in mid-June. We hope sincerely that many of those involved
will continue creating with us well into the future.”

Address: The Barony Centre, Main Street, West Kilbride, KA23
9AR.

Open 10-4, closed Sundays.