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Chamber patrons help Arts Drop make a national impact

Published 28th Aug 2020 by Emma Sinfield

A pioneering project to support wellbeing by delivering creativity and culture to the most vulnerable children in Calderdale has received Parliamentary endorsement as it intensifies its efforts in the face of new Covid-19 restrictions.

A key factor in the recognition of Arts Drop was the level of business support which helped it stand out from an initial round of nearly 50 case studies referred to the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Arts, Health & Wellbeing.

Arts Drop, which uses social workers and other outreach teams to distribute activity packs to children and young people, seized the attention of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Arts, Health & Wellbeing as one of only five case studies chosen to highlight how creativity is tackling Covid-19 across England.

The project is organised by the Halifax-based Creative Learning Guild with funding from the National Lottery, Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council, Calderdale Community Foundation and money from Arts Council England managed by IVE.

But a key contribution also came from YPO, a Chamber Patron based in Wakefield and one of the UK’s largest public sector buying organisations. YPO adapted its operations and supplied crayons, card and a variety of other materials for Arts Drop at a big discount. Further support came from The Piece Hall, another Chamber Patron, in its role as a member of the CLG.

Gilly Bryerley, Managing Director of the CLG, said: “We were thrilled to be included in the handful of case studies presented to the APPG, which includes some really influential people from arts, health and politics, and it was clear from reading the case studies that the support of businesses helped us to stand out.

“We’re very grateful to all the businesses that have helped us and we hope they can maintain their support as we continue our activities to help families who will now be hit by the tightening of the Covid-19 restrictions in our area.

“In recent days we’ve re-stocked the Arts Drop production line and our amazing volunteers have been packing the bags, prepping 34,000 pipe cleaners, folding 23,000 pieces of coloured paper, organising 6,000 jumbo crayons and much more.”

Arts Drop’s focus is on at-risk and looked-after children, young carers and children with refugee or asylum seeker status. The project has reached more than 2,500 people since launching in May and numbers are building.

Rhian Binns, YPO’s PR and Communications Manager for Education, said: “The partnership has worked really well.Our organisation was started to help children in education, so it’s something really close to our hearts to help children learn and develop and grow.

“When Gilly came to us and told us what the partnership was about, it fitted really well with our beliefs.We really want to help children in the community with their education really – education is a large part of what YPO is known for.”

Victoria Hume, Director of the Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance, compiled the case studies for the APPG. She said: “The feedback we have been getting suggests that people really have been seeing this work as a lifeline. These projects are creating vital space for people to express not just happiness but also frustration, fear, anger and to articulate the need for big changes in society.

“What these case studies make clear is the need for partnership, investing in these organisations that have been doing so much to support communities but it is also about investing time into partnerships between culture, health, social care, local government.”

To find out more about Arts Drop please visit www.artsdrop.co.uk


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