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  • Writer's pictureSTEVE COOKE AATA

Cultural sector in Greater Manchester comes together to help vulnerable people

I have been hugely encouraged by the online response of our creative community to Covid-19. An explosion of creativity that has made a huge difference to many of us as we cope with our much-changed lives. I am proud to have been able to share some of this creativity on this platform.

However, I am acutely aware that not all people have ready access to the internet. My work with young people through SWCT [Stories We Can Tell] has highlighted the issues raised by lack of internet connectability and shortage of hardware.

In response to this I am delighted to see innovative and effective responses through such as Creative Care Kits and Get Creative Packs.


A unique collaborative project by Greater Manchester Combined Authority and local cultural and voluntary sector organisations from across Greater Manchester, including AATA friends [Brighter Sound, Cartwheel Arts, Castlefield Gallery, M6 Theatre Company, Octagon Theatre and The Lowry], who have come together to respond to the Covid-19 crisis.

Working with local authorities and education providers, the kits are being distributed to young people aged between 13 and 20, who may be struggling with their mental health, or might be a care leaver, a young carer or not in education, employment or training.

The 22,000 Creative Care kits distributed to young people who are not online, and so may be feeling more isolated and lonely during this difficult time started arriving at young people’s home from I June 2020, via volunteer networks across the city-region.

Each kit contains 36 pages of activities, hints and tips on protecting your mental wellbeing and a set of art materials. As well as giving young people something to do, the kits will help create a sense of connection at a time when they are not able to rely on face-to-face.


Cartwheel Arts are distributing an activity pack for families in Rochdale borough produced by the charity in partnership with Link4Life. Funding has come from 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.

They look brilliant!

The packs not only support creativity and learning but also let them know that the local authority and creative community are there for them if they need any help and support in these strange times.

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