DO you have a family member or friend stuck in the house with nothing to do?

Award-winning arts project The Cultural Spring has launched a programme of free arts activities to help people living in Sunderland and South Tyneside keep busy and feel more connected.

Emma Horsman, Project Director for The Cultural Spring, explained: “Our new activities programme is aimed at helping people to feel more connected, reducing isolation and bringing people together. This is obviously particularly important at this time when so many people still can’t leave their homes or can’t meet family or friends.

“Our activities are all free and are led by local professional artists, writers, singers and performers.”

Some of the activities will be hosted online, but The Cultural Spring has also organised specific ‘non-digital activities’ for those without access to the internet.

There are separate non-digital activities for those living in Sunderland and South Tyneside. In Sunderland, these include a postal arts project with artist Kerry Cook and a Singing Your Stories delivered by We Make Culture which will connect musicians with older participants who will be encouraged to talk about their lives. The musicians will then write bespoke songs based on the reminiscences which will be performed to them over the phone, via a CD or on their doorstep.

The South Tyneside non-digital activities include a postcard project led by artist Beth J Ross, where participants are asked to complete an artistic challenge with a blank postcard and then post it on.

“We didn’t think it was fair that people without internet access would miss the opportunity to take part in activity, so we commissioned local creatives to deliver activity in Sunderland and South Tyneside which don’t need an internet connection,” added Emma.

The full list of activity is:

·      A calligraphy project with Angela Reed

·      Postcard project with artist Beth J. Ross

·      A textile project with Claire Finlay

·      We Make Culture’s Singing Your Stories project

·      Crafting a Mobile with the Singing Elf

·      Postal Arts Project with artist Kerry Cook

·      A Poetry Project with writer Kirsten Luckins

·      A Gorgeous Garland project with artist Kath Price

·      Make a Planter Project with Williby Rocs

·      A Colouring Book Project with Regeneration North East

The activities, funded by Arts Council England, are suitable for anyone aged 16 or over. The length of the activities range from weeks to months and telephone support will be given by artists or a Cultural Spring community champion.

To book a place, or to find out more about the projects, email The Cultural Spring at info@theculturalspring, or ring 07469 030256.

A brochure is also available here

Places are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis and priority will be given to those living in Sunderland or South Tyneside.

The Cultural Spring was launched in 2013 and is funded by Arts Council England’s Creative People and Places project. It aims to increase participation in arts activity in Sunderland and South Tyneside, and is four partners are the University of Sunderland, the Customs House (South Shields), Sunderland Music, Arts and Culture (MAC) Trust and Sangini, a women’s health organisation working in Sunderland and South Tyneside.