What we've been up to this month: 

February is always a busy and exciting time of year at Create. The first half-term of the year means lots of projects and this year we had an incredible twenty-two! We’ve crafted towering sculptures with young carers, created boisterous and bold prints with young people with disabilities, and transported young patients to distant worlds with our interactive music workshops.

One project we delivered this month is ArtsAdventures, our music programme for young patients in hospitals and hospices. During February half-term, our professional artists delivered music and storytelling workshops with young patients at The Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading.

We spoke to a parent whose son is undergoing surgery at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford because his scoliosis has caused curvature of the spine.

“At the moment, my son is in traction before going in to have more surgery on his spine. We’ll be in here for 3-4 months, a long, long stay. We’ve been lots of times before and we always hope it’s the last surgery but we always end up back here. For my son, the thing he finds most challenging is the restrictions which come with being in a wheelchair and having his head attached to a metal halo. He’s also missing being part of his friendship group at home. He misses out on that more than anything else, I think.

Create’s sessions help enormously because they provide a landmark in the day, something to look forward to, a distraction from any discomfort and boredom, especially during half-term when hospital school isn’t on. For patients and their siblings, it’s really nice for them to have the opportunity to take part in something like this. It makes it fun rather than tedious. My daughter, who’s visiting her brother in hospital today, really enjoyed taking part in the session and playing the instruments. She looked really engaged and excited.

Having the arts in hospitals is as important as having the medical care; it’s so vital to a child’s development in their ordinary lives but particularly when they’re in hospital.”

Young people with disabilities at printmaking workshop

Here’s a snapshot of the projects and news that made our February so fabulous: 

Projects

  • We constructed colossal willow sculptures with young carers at Strawberry Hill House, a “fairy-tale castle” by the Thames in Twickenham. One young carer told us "The rest of the group made me feel really welcome and happy."
  • We gave young people with and without disabilities in Harrow the opportunity to storyboard, direct and act in their own horror film. In The Evil School, a band of brave students unite to bring down their teachers!
  • Our Instagram was hijacked by young carers in Sutton in our second ever Instagram takeover. See what they posted here.
  • We collaborated with the Royal Court Theatre to give 10 young carers from two boroughs a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore their caring role through drama at the iconic London theatre. After a fun and inspiring workshop with professional drama artists, the young people watched Wish List. This critically-acclaimed play is about a young carer struggling to make ends meet to support herself and her brother, who has OCD and is housebound. The young carers were then treated to a Q&A with the four actors.

Awards, articles and fundraisers

  • Our Chief Executive Nicky was runner-up for the prestigious Directory of Social Change Influencer Award. Congratulations Nicky!
  • Nicky wrote an impassioned article for the London Economic, How making art can create a fairer and more caring society.
  • Pancake Day crêpe-t up on us once again and our amazing supporter The Breakfast Club donated profits from its pancake challenge to Create! Challengers were given twelve minutes to eat twelve American-style pancakes. Our Communications Manager David valiantly attempted to woolf the tower of batter but didn’t quite make it!
  • We launched our new partnership with Deutsche Bank by giving staff volunteers a taster of our printmaking workshops as part of its Deutsche Bank charity roadshow. If you would like to volunteer with Create, contact Joe at [email protected].

To find out about more of our projects with disadvantaged and vulnerable children and adults visit our blog.