COMMUNITY HAPPINESS: Rainbows Bring Spectrum of Hope and Colour to Durham
Image: Rebecca with team members Erin and Kirsty and one of the decorated windows (the Bigger Picture Agency)
Villages in County Durham will soon be awash with vibrant colour as the first phase of a community project goes live.
Colourful rainbow craft activity packs have been designed by The Singing Elf Social Enterprise’s creative team based in Pittington and produced by a small army of volunteers. The project will see vibrant artwork in windows and shop fronts to mark the first anniversary of lockdown and help people by providing creative and mindful activities to support their mental health and combat social isolation.
Rebecca McGarvie, founder of The Singing Elf says: “The pandemic has affected everyone in our community, but some have been hit harder than others. This project aims to help people who are having a particularly tough time right now and we hope the project will bring a smile and a moment of calm. We want to ‘bring back the rainbow’ to our local communities by providing free, family friendly crafts to residents within our funded areas and encourage everyone to fill their windows with colour. We’re starting in Pittington and surrounding villages and will be bringing colour to other areas over the coming months.”
Launched to mark the anniversary of the first national lockdown, the project works across several local areas and will continue into the summer. It aims to help the community reflect on their experiences of the past year, reconnect with each other and begin the process of rebuilding life after lockdown.
In the first phase, thanks to funding from National Lottery Local Connections, 1,000 free Rainbow Craft Envelopes are being distributed containing five easy to make crafts to ‘bring back the rainbow’ and fill village windows with colour. There is also a greetings card to send on with a message of hope to local people who may be lonely or need cheering up. Rebecca and her team are asking shops, churches, schools, public buildings and residents to get involved by decorating their windows with the handmade crafts.
“Rainbow Voices is a project of hope, it’s about the simplicity of having bright colours filling up our windows, reconnecting with our neighbours and letting people know that no matter how isolated or lonely they are, there is someone close by who cares. Even receiving a handwritten greetings card can give someone that extra boost to help them get through the awful situation we have found ourselves in.”
Rainbow Voices is part of The Singfulness Project - a funded programme of creative and mindful activities created by The Singing Elf Special Enterprise in response to the pandemic. The funded parts of the project will be available to residents of specific areas near Durham City and Houghton-le-Spring at various times from March - August 2021. Funding for the first phase has come from National Lottery Local Connections Fund with additional funding coming from Durham Area Action Partnership, Durham County Council and Sunderland City Council.
“This project is about going back to basics and getting joy out of the simpler things in life. When someone is grieving or in pain, the smallest gesture can make a difference such as knocking on a neighbour’s door and giving them a handwritten greetings card to show you care. If everyone did just one small thing to connect with others it would make a massive difference to so many people and that’s what the Rainbow Voices project is all about,” added Rebecca.
For more information about the packs : click here! or people can join The Rainbow Voices Project Facebook page or see Instagram at The Singfulness Project.
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