Life in Lockdown: Unprecedented Demand for ‘Hope Box’
Published on 11 May 2020
A Dundee charity delivering arts and crafts boxes to those struggling with isolation during the Covid19 lockdown has been ‘blown away’ by demand.
Having initially ordered contents to fill 15 boxes for some of the young people and families in the charity’s network, Front Lounge has now made up almost 250 boxes, with demand growing on an almost daily basis.
Packed with materials ranging from pens, pastels and paints to canvas, charcoals and disposable cameras, an array of artforms have been created, from paintings and collages to photography and poetry.
Thanks to funding from Comic Relief and Proactive Grants (both distributed by Corra Foundation), DC Thomson Charitable Trust and the Response, Recovery, and Resilience Fund (distributed by Foundation Scotland), what started as a small, Dundee project has now extended into Perthshire, Angus and Fife, with boxes also distributed to key worker families whose children are attending Dundee City Council hubs. Various community groups have also requested boxes to provide activities for the people they support, including mental health charity Reach Across in Arbroath, Autism Initiatives in Bridge of Earn, Tayside Council on Alcohol, The Attic and The Ormiston, Inveresk and Salton Residents Association, all based in Dundee.
Around 50 boxes have been given to the hub at Rowantree Primary in Dundee.
Doug Miller, School Family Development Worker commented, “Rowantree Primary School is delighted with the kind donations of Hope Boxes and we’d like to give huge thanks to the warm-hearted people at Front Lounge. The positive impact of the Hope Boxes cannot be underestimated. They are a ray of sunshine and spreading real hope through art.”
One of the Rowantree Primary School parents receiving a box was Gail Wallace, mum to Joshua, Nathan and Rhys Armstrong. Gail said, “The boys love the Hope Box – so many different resources with so many different ideas! It took the pressure off having to find new ways to entertain the kids during this time. I didn’t realise how much you can express yourself through art and the imaginative play my boys gained from this box. Joshua especially loved the idea sheets and charcoal, which I have now ordered more of as it’s his new favourite for drawing. Nathan made lockdown memories for his lockdown time capsule and Rhys made two new clay toys to play with.”
Meanwhile, Lynsey Thompson, mum to Kacia and Kaiya added, “The Hope Boxes are brilliant. There were loads of great resources to use. My daughters Kacia and Kaiya were so excited when they received the boxes!”
Before the Covid19 lockdown set in, Front Lounge had intended to run monthly Hope Hub events across Scotland, providing a safe place for people affected by mental health challenges. The Hope Box project allows Front Lounge to continue these efforts, bridging isolation through art.
Hope Box was created by Chika Inatimi, Project Leader at Front lounge in conjunction with Jacqueline Goodall, final year art student at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design and Hope Hub Lead Artist. Jacqueline said, “The response has been overwhelming and beyond what I ever imagined. The artwork we have collected back has been imaginative, creative and unique, spreading hope and joy for everyone. People are trying new things, using materials that are taking them out of their comfort zone and being expressive. For some, it has been years since they last created a piece of art while, for others, this is a completely new experience. It has also been wonderful seeing some families come together; parents using Hope Box to make art with their children to keep them busy while bonding them together.”
As photographs of creations are collected, the first of many online exhibitions showcasing the work will be revealed during a live, online show, also featuring poetry and music performers on 16 May 2020. To view the first event, and for more information about Hope Box and the wider Hope Hub project, please visit www.hopehub.scot.
For more information about Front Lounge, please visit www.frontlounge.org.