What a week last week was! A team of volunteers to packed and delivered over 1200 packs of art materials to children in Bedford, Central Bedfordshire, with a further 500 being packed in Luton this week by NGYT and the Universtiy of Bedfordshire. This was made possible through a collaboration between BCA, Bedford Borough Council, Central Bedfordshire Council, Bedfordshire Libraries, the University of Bedfordshire plus the generosity of the local community. The packing venue – a difficult thing to find at this time – was the beautiful Elstow Abbey which was generously donated by Father Paul Messam.
The first of the packs was funded by Arts Council England and facilitated by The Royal Opera House Bridge. 1500 ‘Let’s Create’ packs contained creative items for families who may not have art resources at home during the pandemic, plus an activity sheet from Arts Council England devised by art teacher Andria Zafirakou (Global Teacher of the Year 2018).
The Bedford and Central Bedfordshire packs also included activity worksheets created by local artist educators Katie Allen and Amanda Silk, commissioned by The Culture Challenge.
Further to this over 200 families in Queens Park benefitted from art packs provided as part of BCA’s ‘Take Part Queens Park’ programme, funded by The Paul Hamlyn Foundation and The Harpur Trust. Alongside art materials these packs contained artist activities developed by Caroline Wendling, Mira Calix and Andy Holden.
Rachael Rogan, of Rogan’s books also donated over 70 new books which were added to packs destined for looked after children in Bedfordshire.
This could not have happened with out the help of local volunteers and council and BCA staff, so a massive thank you to Alex, Ami, Anne-Marie, Bex, Catherine, Clair, Diann, Edie, Elaine, Emma, Father Paul, Isaac, Jim, Jimmy, Joe, Katie, Kris, Laura, Liz, Rachael, Sarah and Tony!