Q and A with Artlink

Artlink is an arts and health charity working with diverse individuals and communities. With funding from Leeds Community Foundation through the Time to Shine Programme, Artlink’s ‘Creative Connections’ project used different arts techniques to tackle loneliness and isolation.

In a nutshell, could you tell us what your Leeds Community Foundation funded project involves?

Participants in the project explored visual arts and creative writing to address issues around loneliness and isolation. This project connected the two sites together through visits and sharing artwork, whilst developing connections and networks.

Why is this kind of support so vital, what’s the need and what might be the situation if the support you offer didn’t exist?

Over recent years we have seen people with more complex needs being referred to Adult Social Care requiring much more 1-1 support. Attendance at the centres provides a well-earned break from caring for family members and it also provides an opportunity for people to socialise in a safe space with the support of a specialist staff team.

Could you share a rewarding moment you’ve had so far? Is there a particular story you could share from a beneficiary you’ve helped?

Feedback about the project included;

‘I think this project’s been absolutely amazing.  This is the first time in 19 years we’ve managed to engage every single customer who uses the centre, even if it’s only been for five minutes

‘I’m learning all the time, and I’m curious, I like to learn’.

What made you apply for a Foundation grant, what difference has the funding from the Foundation made?

When consulting with the groups, we heard that individuals can feel anxiety and uncertainty if their health declines, further impacting feelings of isolation and loneliness. We wanted the project to use creative engagement to help individuals feel more empowered; getting their voices heard and to find calm through artistic activities.