Beyond Housing has helped to launch a colourful campaign to combat social isolation and loneliness during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Chalk your Street Challenge invites East Cleveland residents to draw pavement pictures of their families with extended arms to connect them with similar drawings on neighbouring streets. Messages of thanks are also being written on the pavements for key workers, the NHS and local charity, Middlesbrough Football Club (MFC) Foundation.

In partnership with Youth Focus North East and MFC Foundation, Beyond Housing has donated more than 600 chalk packs and information sheets to get the project started.

Many families across the area have already taken part, along with local children and teachers from Skelton and Lingdale primary schools. Once the artwork has been judged, Youth Focus North East has pledged to work with residents of the winning street to plan, design and deliver a street party for everyone to enjoy once it is safe to do so, in line with government guidance.

Rachael Crooks, Community Connector at Beyond Housing, said: “The response from East Cleveland has been beyond our expectations and we are truly amazed at some of the entries. This collaborative project has really opened our eyes to how such a simplistic idea can have a positive impact. People are truly connecting to others since being given the right opportunity.”

Helen Kennedy, Development Officer at Youth Focus North East, said: “Bringing good old-fashioned community spirit to an area that I care about has been fantastic. This is a project which addresses isolation and loneliness for all ages and brings everyone together at a time when it matters most.”

Lee Harding from the MFC Foundation added: “At MFC we really loved the idea. To bring people together, celebrate our communities and bring together a positive project and a celebration that we can look forward to is amazing.”