The Accumulate Art School for the Homeless has been kept very busy during these difficult and uncertain times. We thought it would be a great time to update you on what we have been up to!
Our creative workshops stopped in mid March (just before official lockdown). We made a decision that we could not risk anything due to the living and health circumstances of our participants. However, we knew that stopping our creative workshops meant far more than just a weekly activity for the Accumulate participants. We would also be stopping a community, friendships, purpose and learning for people who are very vulnerable, at risk, isolated and living in very dire situations. So, we pivoted very quickly and made a decision to move to online activities. We also planned to send out art kits with all the materials and instructions for specific art activities to all our participants.
Through their involvement in the Accumulate Art Kit project the participants could continue to engage, belong and progress on their creative learning journey and be part of the Accumulate creative community.
Creativity during Lockdown
The first Accumulate Art Kit activity launched at the start of lockdown on 23rd March and had a really really positive reaction. The participants were excited to get something, a kin to a special gift in the post. Because of how the Art Kit has been curated and put together, along with the design of the kit itself, it made them feel valued and an important part of Accumulate and motivated to engage. We used WhatsApp to keep in touch with the group, coupled with Skype and Zoom for the workshops. We also created step by step films online and every kit also had full instructions so the participant could take part in their own time.
Support for our project
Off the back of this pilot activity, we received funding from Crisis, The RSA, LandAid and others to expand the Accumulate Art Kit project across London. So far, we have sent out over 2500 Accumulate Art Kits to people who are living in hostels and emergency accommodation in London and who want to do something creative at this time. All of these are delivered by a magnificent crew of local Accumulate community volunteers!
Art Kit Contents
The Accumulate Art Kit project is a mammoth planning, purchasing and packing task but one that is really bringing creative learning out to people who are so restricted, are suffering from poor mental health and lack of wellbeing and have so little to engage them at this time as all hostel activities having been stopped. So far the Accumulate Art Kits have included collage, animation, felt making, tapestry, self portraits and drawing activities.
Obviously, none of us knows how long the current situation will last for. We will be continuing to send out the Accumulate Art Kits and doing online workshops until we can get back to being able to run the actual creative workshops. We have also continued to run the Accumulate podcasting workshops. This group meets online weekly and are putting together the content for “News for the Unconnected” – audio broadcasts about being homeless during CV-19 and the support that is available to this group.
Like everyone, we are keen to get back to face to face Accumulate creative workshops and activities and also to have the postponed Accumulate exhibition and launch of The Book of Homelessness.
It may not be until 2021 but it will happen and until then we will be, as usual, continuing to innovate and improve homeless people’s lives through creativity and creative learning and which is needed so much at this time.
Get in touch!
Please do email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about the Accumulate Art Kit project. If you do want to support the Accumulate Art Kit project you can do so by clicking here.
With every best wish and stay well,
The Accumulate Team