Health and wellbeing

Funding level: £10,001 to £25,000

Description

Handsworth Creative has a good track record of delivering small scale projects that directly engage local residents. It uses arts and crafts activities to bring people from very different backgrounds together. The ‘Handsworth Park Arts Trail’ is a community development project that aims to bring people from different communities and religions together in 3 sets of workshops and activities during 2019 to design and make 3 things that will be installed on the ‘Plinth’. This will be supported and promoted by four local organisations, all of whom have been involved in designing this project: St Mary’s C of E Parish Church which is adjacent to Handsworth Park, Friends of Handsworth Park, Legacy West Midlands and Saathi House (the latter two organisations specialise in providing services for the Bangladeshi community).

Community consultation recently conducted by Friends of Handsworth Park showed that local residents wanted to see more activities in the Park, and particularly more participatory arts activities that a wide cross-section of the community could take part in. In 2015 the Friends of Handsworth Park successfully put on a temporary arts trail that was very well received by local residents. The workshops will be held in the Park itself (using the community café) as it is a space that is very well used and ‘loved’ by all communities and is seen and perceived as both a safe space and one that is neutral and genuinely shared by all communities. Two years ago, a Big Hoot Owl was located in the Park and local residents were actively engaged in coming up with the design and painting the Owl which was very popular in the Park. Sadly, the Owl had to be auctioned off as part of the fundraising programme for the Children’s Hospital, however Handsworth Creative persuaded the organisers and the Parks Dept. to keep the ‘Plinth’ in the Park to enable more community art programmes to be held in the future.

Handsworth is a very diverse neighbourhood, however there is very little social interaction between White, Caribbean, South Asian and newly arrived communities and these workshops are specifically designed to bring people from different ethnic and religious backgrounds together to design and make temporary pieces of art that will be displayed on the ‘Plinth’. In addition to the workshops there will be Activity Days targeting the wider community linked to the themes of the 3 pieces made by the participants. It is likely that the local environment and wildlife will feature strongly as themes because of the location of the workshops and the Plinth itself. This will lead to a greater understanding of the local environment, trees, birds and other wildlife for example and increased community ownership and respect for the Park. The art work will greatly enhance the Park and encourage more people to visit and take exercise there, which will be an added bonus.

As part of the process of working together, participants will be encouraged to go on joint visits to local galleries and museums to inspire and generate dialogue between the different groups. Many local residents never access the museums and art galleries in Birmingham City Centre, despite them being free; through this project they will be supported and encouraged to broaden their horizons and visit places many feel ‘are not for people like us’.
This project has been approved by Birmingham City Council’s Parks Dept. and Council Officers will provide in-kind support and advise on Health and Safety issues ensuring that the pieces are robust, weather-proof and suitable for exhibition in a public park. This is a stand-alone project, but it will complement other activities organised by Friends of Handsworth Park, such as the Community Garden and Handsworth Community Choir concerts in the park.

Handsworth Creative

Moment of Pride

Handsworth Creative is striving to change the image and reputation of an area blighted by a legacy of gangs and gun-crime. It is a small Community Interest Company made up of local artists who care about their community, using art and community activities to bring different communities together.

Location: Handsworth Park, Birmingham, UK