Z-arts’ Partnership with South Central Food Bank

This summer has come with its struggles and its surprises, but in amongst the hardships of these uncertain times there have been some new partnerships that have presented new positive opportunities for Z-arts! One of these partnerships for us has been with the South Central Food Bank.

During lockdown from mid-late spring and into summer the Z-arts creative team had been working on at home activities. Thinking about how to engage children and families at home and keep up their creative spirits with live activities and sessions on Zoom. Like many of our partner venues we realised, that many families were missing out on at home activity so it was important that creative arts were made available through drop off schemes.

Boxes in Van

Alongside this there was a larger GMCA project run by Z-arts Creative Manager, Gill Balfour

“It was amazing for Z-arts to be part of the GMCA ‘Creative Care Packs’ for young people. It was brilliant to see all 26 organisations come together (albeit digitally) and produce a varied creative activity pack. From what I’ve heard it’s been well received and long may productive and exciting collaborative work continue.”

Woman getting boxes out of car

As well as these creative care packs made in partnership with GMCA, multi-artform activities were designed by our creative team to be printed and delivered to the South Central Food Bank. As part of the ongoing promise to engage with more culturally diverse families Romanian, Polish, Arabic and French version of these packs were created, and were received with a warm reception!

People were very grateful for these packs, with one family saying that

“Not only do we receive emotional support but also ideas entertainment package to keep the little people busy and to help them try to understand a little of what’s going on, also a food parcel that arrived with a lovely book for the children to read, this service has been priceless to our family especially throughout this unpredictable scary time we all find ourselves in!..”

Following this the Family Arts Campaign released funding in July to support their national Family Arts Networks which Z-arts successfully gained. This was based on a proposal to do more activity packs with this food bank after the success of the May packs.

Painting Equipment

This booklet is collaborative piece of work representing the partnership between the Manchester Family Arts Network Venues, also known as Manchester Family Fun. With many venues on furlough we were able to get 5 participating organisations into the booklet including Manchester Museum, People’s History Museum, Manchester Libraries, Manchester Art Gallery and Z-arts. These went out to 90 foodbank families, with a select bundle offering to families from the network venues.

Family Fun Summer Activity Booklet

With Covid-19 restrictions, a lot of health and safety assessment planning, logistics and meticulous scheduling around furlough was needed to making these packs feasible. We owe a massive thanks to Jo Warmington, Project Manage at SCFB for her cooperation, Family Arts Campaign for the support and the above venues for contributing. This has brought new skills to our team and championed cooperation across the city centre and South Manchester arts and non-arts venue communities. We will be continuing this creative support as much as possible within the circumstances, and hopefully moving forward with it.

FAN Ambassador, Yemi Bolatiwa said that

“I was really passionate above all else to make sure this project happened as best as it could, and I am looking forward to keeping it alive, reaching out to different communities.”

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