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Vulnerable young people across Norfolk receive 'Arts Parcels' to help them get "creative"

Picture credits: Norfolk County Council

Over 1,000 special Arts Parcels to vulnerable young people across Norfolk, who struggle to access the internet, to help them get "creative" and reflect on their time in lockdown.

The scheme's been launched by Norfolk County Council and Norfolk Museums Service, with staff distributing parcels yesterday (01/07/20), as well as today (02/07/20).

The parcels contain a range of arts materials, such as sketch books and oil pastels, as well as ideas for creative activities and the project seen as a way of compensating for those who can't access digital resources.

A network of partners who work with vulnerable young people across the county, including the council's Children's Services (Care Leavers and FAST team, Community and Partner Focus teams and Dads Matter) and the Youth Offending team are supporting the project. 

Cllr. Margaret Dewsbury, Cabinet Member for Communities and Partnerships, says:

“At Norfolk County Council we are working hard to ensure our young people have access to the services they need and deserve during this very difficult time.

"We understand that not every family has easy access to the many digital resources which have been produced over the course of lockdown.

"The Arts Parcels programme is an important initiative in addressing this issue and we are grateful to all the partners and funders involved in making this happen.”

The parcels have been developed with help from a professional artist called Ali Atkins, who's also written a special message with ideas on how people can best use their backs.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund's Kick the Dust youth engagement project is funding the scheme, with the aim of addressing the issue of digital deprivation.

Christine Marsden, Kick the Dust Project Manager, Norfolk Museums Service, explains: 

“As soon as lockdown started, we began to look at ways of continuing to work with and support young people.

"It quickly became clear that a significant number were struggling to access the digital activities we were developing for a range of reasons, including lack of access to digital devices to download them.

"So we came up with the idea of Arts Parcels as a way of getting quality resources out to these young people. 

“We are very grateful to the National Lottery Heritage Fund for allowing us to redirect £10,000 of our existing Kick the Dust project budget to cover the costs of the ArtsParcels initiative, and to our colleagues in the County Council who have been incredibly supportive with everything from procurement to packing to sending them out.

"We believe these parcels will make a real difference to the young people who receive them – we know from our experience through Kick the Dust that the opportunity to make personal creative responses to life’s challenges is one that is valued and hugely helpful in promoting well-being and building resilience.”

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