Agenda item

Creative Recovery (Cen.31.01.2024/3)


Charlie Barnes, Artist Developer, and Lorna Szkliniarz, People Grower, were invited to the meeting to provide an update on the work of Creative Recovery in the Central Area.  Members heard how the work was part funded by the Area Council, with the funding matched by the Arts Council.


Those present were made aware that the Headquarters of the project was based at Summer Lane and work on the group had started there trying to engage with residents in this area.


The focus had been to try to reestablish neighbourly feel in the area, and a dog walking group had been established, which provided a way for residents to meet.  Since then, the group had further developed and a logo designed, with a virtual campfire event held as a way to encourage people to join in.  People felt it positive that new faces joined in, and more people got involved.   Members were also made aware of a Christmas event, held in conjunction with the Ward Alliance, which involved lantern making and carol singing.


Work in Worsbrough had started by identifying in which area to focus efforts. The New England area had been agreed, and following discussions around what activities residents may have an interest in;  it was decided to consider bingo, with arts activities.  Attendance at events had been variable, but in was noted those attending did enjoy the sessions.


In addition, focused activity was undertaken in workshops with five groups across the area, where a range of ornaments had been produced which were then placed on a community Christmas tree.  An even was then held at Barrow Club, in partnership with the Ward Alliance.  The event, originally designed to be held outdoors, was brought in and a sociable evening was had, with reasonable attendance.  Comments received highlighted that the area had not previously seen many events and that it was nice that families could take part at no cost.


Within the Gilroyd and Dodworth area, Gilroyd had been focused on as there was evidence that Dodworth generally had more active social groups. Lorna had been focusing on bringing together local and social history with a view to creating a book or exhibition.  There was only a small number of individuals involved, but work was ongoing to increase engagement.


Members noted that the project provided overall progress reports on a  quarterly basis, and to date all targets had been met. Noted was the ongoing challenge to engage those hardest to reach who may benefit, especially given the time allocated of 1.5 days a week.


Notwithstanding time pressures, Members were made aware of plans for the future, which included extension of the local history project from Gilroyd into Dodworth, a Community Tapestry and possible Community Drama in Worsbrough, and another campfire event and a large-scale public art project at Summer Lane.


Questions were raised around the timescales of the project. It was acknowledged that funding was in place to July 2024, but that opportunities for funding elsewhere were being explored.  Members questioned whether there was also the opportunity to expand the project, where funding allowed, so in the future all Wards could be supported.


Members also provided a number of suggestions for groups or facilities that the project could usefully link with, such as the Top of Dodworth Bottom Club, the Edmunds Centre in Worsbrough,  the Worsbrough Mystery Plays, and the family hubs in the area.


It was acknowledged that groups had been supported so that hopefully many relationships would continue, and volunteers would try to keep the momentum going should finance not be forthcoming.  A suggestion was made to link to the Council’s Employer Supported Volunteering (ESV) scheme, and details of this be circulated to Members and to staff at Creative Recovery.


Members questioned whether support had been readily available from other stakeholders, and it was noted that support had been provided within respective parameters and was always gratefully received.


When discussing the impact on recovery from such as substance misuse, it was noted that this was not the main focus of the project, but anecdotally there had been positive impacts on those with improved mental health and wellbeing, but care was taken to avoid monitoring this too keenly which could act as a deterrent.


RESOLVED that thanks be given for the presentation and the work of Creative Recovery in the Central Area.

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