I’ve spent the last few months in lockdown asking my family the same question everyday: ‘What do you want to do today?’Staying at home with kids during lockdown has seemed difficult at times, but we’ve certainly been busy making things – from baking to rainbows to space rockets to castles in the sandpit – and sometimes all we made was a mess! However, even when the news was unsettling that day, it didn’t matter, because we’d had a go at something and spent time together. Whether you are under 5 or 95, trying something new can give you a great sense of achievement, and it’s a great way to link with other members of the community – even if that has to be from a distance at the moment. I started as Producer for the Made With Many programme in May, which aims to provide creative and cultural opportunities for communities in Wellingborough and Corby by linking people to artists, activities, and opportunities to get involved, and by asking just that: ‘What do you want to do?’We had planned to kick start our Wellingborough programme with a Family Arts Festival (which has now been rearranged for 2021) but as that’s not possible at the moment it has given us a great opportunity to get to know even more different community groups and find out what people want from a local creative programme.Whilst we plan to inspire everyone in our communities with great cultural opportunities in future, we have started to plan projects that can support people across a wide range of different areas and community groups during lockdown and beyond. In Wellingborough these include our key target areas, where research shows that people have had less access to creative and cultural opportunities in the past, including Queensway, Kingsway, Hemmingwell and Castle Ward. We will also provide projects specifically for those with additional needs, families with under 5s, young people, over 65s and members of the Black and Minority Ethnic communities and are currently recruiting a Community Engagement Co-ordinator to work alongside all of these groups to develop relevant ways for people to access creative and cultural activities.
As a local resident, I’m also really excited about the opportunities for artists and creative practitioners to work in Wellingborough, and the creativity they will bring to the project. We have two artists meetings coming up on Zoom (see the link below) which is a good opportunity to meet our team, and other artists or practitioners online, and have a chat about how our Cultivate programme can support your practice. We’ll shortly be launching our Cultivate seed commissions for Wellingborough, which will give opportunities for artists and local people to develop community projects and test out ideas – so watch this space.
In the coming months, I will be contacting groups and asking ‘What do you want to do?’ Even though it may not be today, and we’ll be working on a lot of ‘at home’ activities and remote projects for now, we want to know what you would like to see from the Made With Many programme in future and look forward to hearing from anyone across these communities that would like to get involved.
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