Hampshire Cultural Trust is asking people to give the gift of creativity to help improve the wellbeing of vulnerable young people affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Creative Boxes are an initiative by Hampshire Cultural Trust (HCT). Created with the help of local artists, the boxes contain a selection of craft materials and activities to inspire young people. Their aim is to encourage young people to use art as a positive, creative activity, providing an outlet for them to express themselves, tackle low self-esteem, build their confidence and, ultimately, help to improve their mental health, wellbeing and emotional resilience.
It is estimated that there are over 30,000 vulnerable young people in Hampshire living with mental health problems, which can be triggered by factors such as isolation, relating to lockdown and social distancing. During the pandemic, many vulnerable young people have been unable to attend education settings and many youth projects have been postponed, limiting the opportunities for young people to access positive activities and services. This has been compounded by data poverty, with a significant number of disadvantaged and vulnerable young people having limited access to both the internet and mobile phones – an additional barrier to accessing much-needed online education, youth work and support.
The boxes aim to address this need creatively and HCT is working with a number of partners across the county to ensure that they are distributed to those young people aged 10 – 16 who would benefit from remote creative activities and are most in need. These include young carers, those with special educational needs, who have been fostered or are in foster care or present a risk either to themselves or others.
The provision of Creative Boxes has been inspired by a 2020 project run by Hampshire Cultural Trust and funded by the Youth Endowment Fund to support young people at risk of being drawn into violent crime as a result of the pandemic. This project consisted of a series of artist-led online workshops and courses, where young people were sent tailored art boxes in advance to enable them to participate.
Creative Boxes are available to gift for £30 from the Hampshire Cultural Trust website, https://shop.hampshireculture.org.uk/products/creative-box-for-a-young-person. The boxes are sent directly to a young person in need in the community.