An innovative arts and wellbeing program is being launched for young people in Cornwall…

Following a highly challenging couple of years, young people need opportunities that encourage fun, connection and expression. 

HSK Art

Arts Lab aims to fulfil these needs by creating opportunities that will nurture young people’s creative expression. Arts Lab is a program funded by HeadStart Kernow – part of Cornwall Council – via a Heritage Lottery grant and delivered in partnership with FEAST and Arts Well.  

It aims to connect with young people through a programme of creative activity that invites them to shape their own involvement and engage with their wider communities.  

Young people’s groups were invited to register their interest in the programme, sharing where they are based and the art forms they are interested in. Alongside this, local artists sent project ideas to the Arts Lab team about activity they wished to deliver in collaboration with the young people. 

The Arts Lab team then matched young people’s group and artists accordingly; the result has been a rich and colourful array of creativity taking place across the county that places young people at its heart. 

Projects began in April and are due to finish by the end of July 2022. A photographer and filmmaker have been commissioned to capture a selection of projects as part of the programme evaluation, which will be shared in September.  

Service Director for Education and Community Health at Cornwall Council, Kate Evan-Hughes, said: “It is great to see local projects supporting the wellbeing of children in Cornwall with our local artists being matched to the interests of our children. The impact of the last couple of years on our children and their families is well documented, but this imaginative approach to support them is welcomed.” 

Head of Funding for HeadStart at The National Lottery Community Fund, Scott Hignett said: “We are delighted to see funding from HeadStart supporting this exciting creative experience for young people across Cornwall. Thanks to National Lottery players this project will positively impact their mental health and wellbeing, and support communities to prosper and thrive.” 

Arts Well CIC Director, Jayne Howard said: “We know that the pandemic has seen an increase in the number of young people needing support with their mental health and wellbeing and there is good evidence that creative activity is a powerful tool in helping young people overcome anxiety, depression and stress, so we are really pleased to be partnering Feast and Headstart Kernow on this project.” 

FEAST Director, Rose Barnecut added: “These are challenging times for us all.  For young people how much tougher must it be when the certainties older generations have enjoyed are so shaken? We want the Arts Lab to provide young people in Cornwall with a safe space in which to imagine, have fun, see the beauty of the world.   

“Creativity is our birth right, our route to thinking differently, empathising with others, loving ourselves.  We want young people to grab their birth right with both hands.” 

For more information on how to get involved, please visit the Start Now website: https://www.startnowcornwall.org.uk/

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