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‘Have a Go!’ events tackle social isolation, loneliness and low mental health

Photographs by Calvin Tasker

Article by Huw Moseley

Across Redditch, a new community based, creative project is underway to help tackle the isolation, loneliness and poor mental health experienced by some members of the community. Spearheaded by the teams at Reimagine Redditch and Redditch District Collaborative and working closely with both local organisations and social prescribing link workers, Reimagine Redditch aims to reach people who are most vulnerable to isolation and loneliness or who experience mental health issues.

The ‘Have a Go!’ project builds on one of Reimagine Redditch’s early pilot projects, ‘Creative Connections’, which gave people a chance to try something new while bringing them together as part of a group, in a safe, welcoming, and warm space.

‘Have a Go!’ workshops offer artist-led, creative activities in small groups. With a wide array of activities ranging from arts and crafts to dance and photography, the project has something to inspire everybody. People are then able to explore their creative potential in sessions led by our unique artists, which are run in partnership with friendly folk from amazing local organisations, including REACH, Inspire, Redditch Library and more.

The following creative activities were selected by local people and community representatives:

·       Painting, printmaking, and digital workshops: participants can immerse themselves in a variety of mediums, learning techniques to create stunning works of art.

·       Arts and crafts: making objects by hand in a safe space that allows you to express yourself and enjoy the comfort in creativity.

·       Photography: perfect for those with a passion for capturing moments, these workshops delve into photography techniques, helping participants hone their skills behind the lens.

·       Dance: a celebration of movement and self-expression, from Voguing instruction to Waacking classes.

·       Storytelling and creative writing: led by poets, playwrights, and facilitators, these workshops cater to all ages, offering opportunities to explore storytelling, creative writing, and design.

·       Visual arts: from nail and thread art to creating portraits, participants can dive into various forms of visual expression, unleashing their creativity in unique ways.

·       Breakdancing and beatboxing: beyond just physical activity, the focus here is also on mental and physical well-being through expressive and interpretative art forms.

·       Textile and visual arts: yarn, crochet, knitting, and other textile arts are on offer, fostering connections through shared creativity.

·       Costume design and theatrical workshops: led by fashion designers and theatre makers, participants can explore the world of costume design and theatrical expression, bringing characters to life on stage.

·       Creative theatre and artistic writing: led by theatre makers, musicians, and writers, these workshops delve into the realms of creative theatre and storytelling, inspiring participants to express themselves through performance and prose.

Our Spring workshops have already started, with local people enjoying sessions on: Mosaics; Spring Planting; Mapping and Poetry; Astronomy and Poetry; and Jewellery Making. And we’re only halfway through. New participants are still looking forward to sessions on: Printing; Painting and Collage; and Mosaics.

By partnering with local organisations and social prescribing link workers, Reimagine Redditch aims to reach people who may feel left out or left alone. Through shared experiences and collective creativity, the project fosters a sense of belonging and connection within the community.

At a time when mental health challenges and social isolation are all too common, initiatives like ‘Have a Go! offer a beacon of hope and safe havens. Whether you're looking to explore your artistic talents, connect with others, or simply enjoy the comforting reassurance in creativity, there's a place for you. So why not take a leap of faith and choose to ‘Have a Go!’. Click here to find out more about 'Have a Go!'.

Huw Moseley is a Producer at Reimagine Redditch.

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