Creative Spaces was born out of our Women in Work project. A number of the military wives involved in that expressed dissatisfaction with the facilities and community programs available to them.
Creative Spaces therefore became the name for a project which would regenerate Hounslow Welfare Centre into a creative hub for the community. Working with artists, mothers redesigned the space for the community, meeting the accessibility needs of those with young children who were becoming isolated because of limited local facilities. The geographical location of the Welfare Centre means it is a short walk from both military and civilian community estates, allowing military families to develop new relationships with their civilian neighbours.
The project aimed to empower women with young children to feel they can leave their homes because they didn’t have to overcome the pressures of addressing limited public transport links with buggies etc. In doing so we hoped they will forge new friendships within their own community which will foster cohesion.
Over the course of the year, the space was transformed into a family friendly space which could then offer participatory workshops for parents and children. These workshops would allow participants to develop new skills and foster friendships to improve the quality of military life.
Following the up cycling of the space, mothers worked with artists to create a programme of participatory workshops.
Workshops were offered for parents and children, including mural design and completion, make over of indoor space and garden, activities including wreath making, face painting, candle making, pot pushing and painting, ceramics, photography, beauty and relaxation, film, photo frame making
Skills learnt could therefore be reapplied back at home. The workshops eased the burden and cost of child care to allow the women to develop new skills, increase confidence and self worth to cope with the transitory nature of military life.
Facts and Figures
The project delivered
50 practical sessions
3 community events
One summer holiday project
One Christmas meal for participants and families
One theatre trip provided for all participants by Bounce
The project had over 12 visiting facilitators and reached more than 35 families.
* Through the project refurbishment of space the main room, kitchen and garden were all transformed. With the addition of an outshide shed, Wendy House and sandpit.
* The workshops led to engaging one participant in a period of training and develop to enable them to gain work in the area.
* An increased sign of improved confidence both creatively and socially, reduced isolation, integration and growth in military/ civilian social networks. This includes friendships, childcare and emotional support.
* The network that developed through Creative Spaces led to the development of a new project – Happy to Chat. This would take the work of Creative Spaces further. Inspired by the Jo Cox Foundation and the Campaign to End loneliness, Creative Spaces has been the seed for a project to work on a grassroots level to engage more people in building community cohesion. Sessions will focus on developing confidence through participation in activities that focus on ways to be creative and promote kindness in everyday life.