Everyday creativity For Furloughed and unemployed
Time + Creativity + Development = better health
Creative development sessions were provided aiming to facilitate self-expression, reflection, realisation, mindfulness and actualization among furloughed and unemployed members of the community. The facilitators themselves were all from under represented groups. This project was led by Creative Future and delivered with support from Department of Work and Pensions and East Sussex Libraries Service. Creative facilitators included Dan Blomfeld, Tara Gould, Lizzie Ridout and Dominique De-Light.
The nature of this target cohort of participants is extremely diverse and the project team therefore made links with local job centres and job coaches and libraries to help reach participants.
A range of short courses were offered, led by facilitators with varied areas of expertise. These courses incorporated life coaching, visual art, photography and writing. They were as follows:
Finding your creativity and preventing overwhelm.
Nature writing and journaling for wellbeing.
Finding time for creativity.
Finding everyday creativity through photography
Creative writing for wellbeing.
“It pushed me to go outdoors and look at things differently - it energised my world.”
Whilst most of this activity was delivered through COVID restrictions via a series of online sessions, some sessions were delivered in person when restrictions were lifted. Both participants and facilitators reported heightened levels of satisfaction and engagement through being able to interact with each other in groups again. As well as coping with lockdown conditions, this participant group were experiencing the additional isolation and anxiety caused by being outside of the structure provided by work and education, so connecting with others and benefitting from peer support was an important element of this programme strand.
Participants noted that a key motivation for taking part in the project was their experience of the pandemic, restrictions and being unemployed/furloughed. One participant outlined that they had been feeling more isolated than usual and participating in the project was a way of combating this.
“I think with the pandemic everyone was feeling more isolated than usual, so just glad I got the chance to take part.”
Participants reported that they felt that taking part had improved their mental health and wellbeing. As the sessions progressed, one participant outlined that taking part had improved her confidence.
“It gave me more confidence to get out, especially suffering with social anxiety, as there is a reason that I am there.”
Participants reflected that the project helped them to expand their creative practice or better understand what creative activities they value.
"It helped me to learn that perhaps I’m better with more dynamic things, hands on and practical (like the photography) that encourage you to look outwards rather than inwards. I think if I want to do creative writing I’m going to do it on my own as a solitary thing.”