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New project helps people in West Berkshire to connect and stay creative

Corn Exchange Newbury has today launched a new project, Contactless Creativity, which will provide creative offline opportunities to the door for those living in West Berkshire and the surrounding area.



Contactless Creativity offers those who are currently shielding or who do not have access to the internet the opportunity to keep creative and feel connected at a time when they may be having less frequent contact with their friends and family or are unable to take part in their usual activities or pastimes. The Corn Exchange is inviting local people to sign up to the project and is also looking for volunteers to help with the distribution.

Each week a different artist will produce creative activities that can be accessed online or, for those who do not have access to the internet, can be delivered as a pack to homes by one of our volunteers. These packs will include printed activity sheets and materials for creative tasks such as painting or writing. Each recipient will also receive an audio message from the artist that will talk participants step by step through a creative exercise, as well as a piece of work created by the artist that they can enjoy at home. For those with access to the internet, the Contactless Creativity Packs will be available to download from the Corn Exchange’s website.

Kennet Radio are supporting the project by designating a weekly slot on the station to broadcast the creative exercises. This familiar medium allows those who are less confident with digital content an equal opportunity to engage with, and connect to others, through the project.

Katy Griffiths, Director of Corn Exchange Newbury says, "We feel it is incredibly important to keep our community connected and even more so during this time. Over the past few months, many people have not had their usual access to support or social groups and, without access to the internet, they have not be able to take part in the digital activities or ways of keeping in touch that others have been able to enjoy. With Age UK’s telephone friendship service experiencing a 290% increase in demand and the findings from the recent Alzheimer’s Society survey that over 80% of those living alone with dementia have not seen any friends or family since the start of the pandemic, we wanted to do something to help make a difference to people’s lives. We hope our Contactless Creativity Packs will bring a lot of joy, as participants will get the chance to interact with the artists and engage with others taking part in the project. As lockdown eases and family members or neighbours return to work, we are likely to see increased numbers of people feeling isolated and this project is one way in which we are working to address that in our local community."

Contactless Creativity has been funded by the Coronavirus Community Support Fund, distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund and the Corn Exchange thanks the Government for making this possible. The Corn Exchange is also working with the Community Support Hub to recruit local volunteers to prepare and deliver the Contactless Creativity Packs. If you are interested in joining as a volunteer please e-mail getinvolved@cornexchangenew.co.uk or call 01635 582666.

If you, or someone you know, would be interested in receiving the Contactless Creativity Packs, please sign up by calling 01635 582666 or email boxoffice@cornexchangenew.co.uk.  

For more information about Contactless Creativity visit www.cornexchangenew.com

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