For the many children in Bristol living in flats with no garden and intermittent internet, lockdown is a particularly challenging time.
As Ingrid Skeels from Room 13 in Hartcliffe puts it: “Whilst we’re all in the same storm, so to speak, we are not all in the same boat.”
Recognising the struggles families are facing while schools are closed, a grassroots fundraising campaign was launched to pay for special art packs to be distributed across the neighbourhood, to help foster creativity and give children something positive to do during lockdown.
“Many children live in homes with no gardens so are more stuck indoors and many have no or only intermittent access to the internet, possibly via a phone and limited credit,” says Ingrid.
“Right now, when so many people’s financial situation is even harder than before, this is all making lockdown much more difficult, for parents as well as children.”
On top of coping with lockdown, young people in the area have lost the use of Room 13 just when they need it most. An independent art space in the grounds of Hareclive E-Act Academy Primary, the project is run by children for children and encourages creativity, enterprise and independent thinking.
Thousands of households across Bristol are in receipt of free school meals, including around 70 per cent of families at Hareclive school, and the art packs are distributed along with supply hampers, providing a “lifeline” for many young people, who have been able to unleash their creativity and find inventive ways of coping with being indoors.
It was two long-term supporters of Room 13, Amy Harrison and Amanda Colbourne who have been furloughed from their usual roles at We The Curious, who had the idea for a fundraising campaign. Together with Room 13 artists, they made it happen and people across Bristol have responded with donations now totalling more than £4,200.
Paintworks-based artist Luke Jerram and George Ferguson’s Red Trousers Fund are among the supporters that have enabled Bristol Children’s Scrapstore, with help from volunteers and school staff, to create and distribute the packs, which include paper, scissors, pens, pencil, modelling clay and more.
The campaign is still running and Room 13 hopes to build on current momentum to raise as much as possible to keep the supply of packs coming for families as lockdown continues.
Ingrid added: “We are so grateful to everyone in Bristol and beyond who has given to our appeal so generously and directly paid for individual children to receive these first packs. We know already that it is helping them – until the happy day that we can welcome children back to Room 13 again.”
To support the fundraising campaign, visit: www.localgiving.org/appeal/Room13artpacks4children/
All photos courtesy of Room 13
Read more: Meet the Hartcliffe changemakers