Art Pen Pals is a new free creative project for isolated, house-bound individuals in Oldham and Tameside, which can include people with caring responsibilities, mental or physical ill-health.
The project will pair up people who are unable to join Arc's face to face or online groups for any reason with a volunteer buddy, with whom they can exchange creative works by post ( e.g. poetry/collage/watercolour/embroidery/sketching...)
No previous art experience is necessary, but an interest in developing wellbeing through creativity is essential. All postage costs and art materials (if necessary) will be covered by Arc and no home addresses will be shared between participants- all post will come via Arc and be handled by staff or key volunteers.
Participants will receive post from their buddy once a month, with ideas and suggestions of how to add to or respond to the creative work sent; they then have 2 weeks to create something and send it back. Our volunteers will have plenty of ideas and tips to share, but the focus is on enjoyment, boosting confidence, giving purpose and structure to the day and unlocking creativity, rather than necessarily learning artistic skills.
The project follows on from the successful 'Culture Buddies' pilot started in lockdown to reduce isolation and is now open to people aged 18+ in Stockport, Oldham and Tameside.
People can be referred by a support agency, family member or friend, or can self-refer but places are limited, so it is a first-come-first-served basis. Once accepted onto the project, participants will have chance to choose the type of mediums or themes they would like to work on, as well as complete a mini trial project before being paired up with their buddy for a 4-6 month project.