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P3 Coventry delivers ‘art kit’ workshops with Accumulate

7 June 2021

A support worker at P3’s Coventry service has been delivering specialist art workshops to people living in temporary accommodation, thanks to Accumulate, an art school for people experiencing homelessness in London.

Sharon Hawkins heard about the Accumulate ‘Art Kits’, formed in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and thought it was a great concept:

“Accumulate came up with the idea of creating art boxes and sending them out to people, and then training the support workers, so that they could run workshops themselves within their own accommodation services. So that means not only people in London can access these, but people all over the country.

“I started working with people on an individual basis and I found it really beneficial to our relationship to find something that enables people to talk, to be creative …

“With one guy I worked with, it was just a beautiful process to watch unfold in front of me. He was just so calm and thoughtful. His mum had recently died and it enabled him to have this space to talk about that. Because I’ve got a good rapport with the people I work with, I then knew how to use the sessions to explore things that were coming up in a safe space. So it was kind of like art therapy.”

Accumulate facilitate fortnightly training sessions for support workers over Zoom, each led by an arts professional who is top in their field. Contributors include Claire Cheung, Art Director at Stylist magazine, London architecture firm AHMM and the Museum of Youth Culture and sessions have featured everything from model-making to how to create your own fabric patch.

The art kits are posted out for each person who wants to join in at the service, and Sharon talks people through the instructions and helps generate ideas, based on the training she’s received. The Zoom workshops are also recorded so people can have firsthand access to those as well.

Nathan lives in Coventry and has taken part in several workshops with Sharon, using the art kits. He said:

“It’s just very relaxing and peaceful. Over the last couple of months I’ve really been enjoying doing art again. I used to do a lot of drawing when I was at school but when I left I completely gave it up. Doing it now made me realise I’ve still got that talent.

“If I feel like I’m going through a bit of anxiety, and some negative thoughts, I will just sit down and get on with my artwork. And it will just take the thoughts away and give me something positive to think about.”

Director and founder of Accumulate, Marice Cumber said:

"We have been blown away by the level of engagement and creativity that has been produced in hostels through the Accumulate Art Kit Project. What's also really rewarding is how much enjoyment and wellbeing is being gained by the support workers who are doing their art kits training with us. This is an outcome that we didn't expect and so is an added bonus! We are going to be continuing the art kit project from September onwards and really hope that P3 can be a part of it and more of their residents can get involved." 

You can find out more about Accumulate and how to get involved here.