An exciting new arts project is beginning in Darlington for children and young people with physical and learning disabilities.

Harewood Hill Lodge will become a Creative Care Home thanks to funding through the County Durham and Darlington NHS Health Improvement Fund, managed by the County Durham Community Foundation.

Blue Cabin Community Interest Company developed the project in partnership with Darlington Borough Council and Harewood Hill Lodge, following a successful pilot project called Head Heart Hands Darlington, which saw over 100 children and young people with experience of the care system taking part in arts and creative activities alongside their foster carers, residential workers and social workers

Over the next 10 months, children and their carers from Harewood Hill Lodge will have the opportunity to participate in and experience arts and cultural activities together. Creative Bursaries will be available for the children and young people to design their own creative journey, which could include working with professional artists, visits to arts and cultural venues, and participating in activities within the home.

As part of the project, all staff at the home will train to become Arts Award Advisers, meaning they will be able to support the children and young people who access Harewood Hill Lodge to achieve an Arts Award.  Arts Award is a nationally recognised qualification for children and young people up to the age of 25, of all abilities, which supports children and young people to develop as artists and arts leaders.

Jenny Young, Director of Blue Cabin Community Interest Company said:

“The children, young people and staff at Harewood Hill Lodge have been a huge inspiration, and we’re delighted that we are going to be able to develop the work with them, to support them to become a Creative Care Home.  We are extremely grateful to the County Durham Community Foundation for believing in and investing in this work.”

Dawn Burnip, Senior Registered Manager at Harewood Hill Lodge said:

“We are delighted to begin this work with Blue Cabin, to expand the opportunities for our children, young people and staff.  We see the difference that arts and creativity make to all our lives, and we are excited about embedding this within the home, seeing what direction the children and young people take, and sharing it with carers and families.”

Councillor. Cyndi Hughes, Darlington Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Children and Young People said:

“This partnership between Blue Cabin and Harewood Hill Lodge, with the support of the CDCF, is an exciting development which will enable an even more inclusive approach for all young people to engage more fully with the arts, taking us one step closer to our vision of Darlington as a cultural hub.”

For more information about the project visit www.wearebluecabin.com

Photo (credit Suharrurru Productions)

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