Supporting the Arts during Lockdown
Connectforce Companions has specifically called out for creatives, artists and performers to join its initiative. Someone wrote to us asking why this is - so to answer their question, we decided to put pen to paper (in a manner of speaking)!
Our initial reasoning stemmed from witnessing the way that creative industries have been dismantled continuously by the pandemic. This extended closure of the arts world, with minimal governmental support, has left a whole industry of talent out of work. Connectforce recognises the emotional toll this has had on both the individuals and the industry as a whole. Through our Companions scheme, we aim to create a positive space where people can do something good. A crucial element of the programme is creating a renewed sense of purpose - a weekly chance to talk and listen to a person outside your bubble. We've seen first hand how transformative a new relationship can be on someone who is feeling isolated, and so we want to open that up to artists who will also benefit from this type of interaction.
But, I hear you say, so many industries have been hit by the pandemic! Why focus solely on the artists? Connectforce Companions is all about communication and empathy, as well as having the confidence to create a connection with someone who on the surface might seem very different to you - generationally, geographically, socially (the list goes on)... Connectforce recognises that artists and performers are confident communicators, and have often learnt enhanced empathy and openness during their training and their career. Simply put, Connectforce recognised the impact these skills could have on the mental health and wellbeing of their older beneficiaries. We saw a natural fit between artists and older people, and a huge potential to create meaningful connections.
So to round up, our darling founder Elle Sutton (a fellow 'creative'), has summed it up most eloquently... “Connectforce Companions is an opportunity to harness artists’ unique skills to spread joy to the most vulnerable in our society, as well as providing fulfilment and inspiration for themselves. It really is the easiest way to volunteer skills to be part of reuniting communities forgotten by the pandemic.”