1,500 young people and their parents took part in 15 fun-filled community art, craft and sport days in four different locations in East Dorset over the school summer holidays.
The events were targeted at local communities at Leigh Park Community Centre and Allendale Community Centre in Wimborne, Heatherlands Community Centre in Ferndown and Three Legged Cross First School.
Dorset-based Community Artists delivered a diverse range of crafts, arts, storytelling, dance, climbing, rugby, rounders, circus skills, drama, bread making, drumming and theatre performances to enthusiastic children of all ages.
At Three Legged Cross and Heatherlands themes of carnival, Brazil and rainforest were celebrated in style through the arts. Leigh Park was transformed into Africa for the week and Allendale explored the riverside wildlife through art activities.
Funding for the holiday schemes came from East Dorset District Council, Synergy Housing and Verwood, Ferndown and Wimborne Town Councils. A collaborative funding bid between the art weeks and the Sting in the Tale Festival enabled storytelling to be taken to different venues and new communities.
In addition to the successful funding bids there were donations of activities from Moors Valley Country Park and Wimborne RFC. Venues donated their space which enabled these community-focused drop-in days to take place for local children and their families for only a £1 per person a day.
Organiser Tracy Cooper, Culture Manager at East Dorset District Council, commented: “We have had four vibrant weeks jam packed with high quality arts experiences for young people. They have learnt a wide variety of skills and expressed themselves through a diverse range of creative experiences with different professional artists.
“Each day up to 130 local people came through the doors to take part in something new. The days were made a success due to the fantastic support of local partners, Community Centre managers, funders, the Police, Synergy staff and Community Centre volunteers, who all rolled up their sleeves to help out. A special thanks also goes to Sainsburys who have been a wonderful support to our art weeks.”
A team of eight young volunteers aged between 14 and 17 were also recruited to assist with the art weeks, offering these young people the opportunity to shadow a community artist, learn how to run a craft activity and work with younger children and their parents. Each volunteer was presented with a certificate at the end.