A NATIONAL Lottery funded project to combat social isolation through art is expanding to reach new rural communities.
New Art for All classes will be running for two years in Bere Alston, Princetown, Callington and Launceston. They are open to local people, young and old, who could be at risk of loneliness. The classes are led by experienced art tutors from Tavistock-based community arts organisation West Devon Art Workshops. They will cover a wide variety of art and craft techniques in four session blocks. There will also be family sessions run on Saturdays at least three times per year and annual celebratory events in each location.
Andy Cairns, one of the tutors, said: ‘In our classes, participants learn new skills and build confidence, but also feel a part of a community and make new friends.
‘Becoming lonely can strike at any age and creates a vicious cycle where people lose confidence and the ability to “make conversation” or have something in common with others.
‘Social isolation is compounded by ill health, being a carer, having a disability and poverty.
‘Experiencing learning with others breaks down barriers; doing something new together creates a bond and friendships can occur naturally through mutual interest. Creative activities help cross bridges of age and ability, reducing stress and building confidence.’
Participant representative Allie Cole said: ‘The social aspect of the classes is very important too — many participants say how they look forward all week to coming along. The atmosphere is so friendly and nurturing.’
The first courses will start this month in Bere Alston and Princetown, covering felt making, drawing and painting and lino painting. Courses are being organised to start in Launceston and Callington in September.
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