Cartwheel Arts are beginning the process of distributing ‘Get Creative Inside!’, an activity pack for families in Rochdale borough produced by the charity in partnership with Link4Life.
Funding has come from Action Together, Rochdale Council Public Health department, Rochdale Boroughwide Housing, Darnhill Festival Association and from Cartwheel and Link4Life. Arts organisations in the borough including M6 Theatre and Skylight Circus Arts have also contributed content.
Action Together contributed via a small grant to Darnhill Festival Association, and by linking the project to Sky TV whose team of engineers will be carrying out the bulk of the distribution.
Rochdale Council Public Health department have produced guidelines so that the packs could be produced and distributed safely in these difficult times.
Families will find almost everything they need to complete the activities in the ‘Get Creative Inside!’ booklet, which is in the box. Some activities require scrap materials which people can hopefully find at home. Cartwheel say children should ask an adult before cutting up a cereal packet, particularly if there is still cereal in it.
Cartwheel’s director Rick Walker is delighted with the outcome. “This has been a fantastic team effort by all the partners,” he said, “and also a race against time with materials running out as so many suppliers have closed down. But I think families will be pleased with the result.”
And Maxine Beresford, Headteacher at St Margaret's CE Primary School in Darnhill, Heywood said:
"Thank you so much to Cartwheel Arts from everyone at St Margaret’s C.E. Primary School, These amazing art/creative packs have been really well received by our families. The packs will help to keep our pupils focused, will support their home learning and will promote well-being and enjoyment too. This display of support shows what the community are doing for all our families during this really challenging and difficult time."
Unfortunately Cartwheel have not been able to make enough boxes for every family in the borough, or even every family on free school meals, and they are being guided by Rochdale Council and by charities active with vulnerable children and families in the borough as to how best to arrange distribution.
They also realise that the resources won’t go so far if there are several children in the family and ask recipients to share!
Internet access is an issue for many families, which is why the partners wanted to provide a physical resource. However, the activities in the box will be available to view on the Cartwheel and Link4Life websites. And most organisations featured in the booklet are making their work available online and links have been provided.
Families are urged to send examples of their work in for exhibiting online. When lockdown is over the organisers hope to stage an exhibition of the work produced.