Creative groups unite to help everyone “get back to normal”

Much of Britain is returning to “normal life” now that all remaining restrictions have been replaced by the government's Living with COVID-19 plan. But for 46,000 people in Liverpool who are classed as high-risk, it’s still an incredibly daunting time.

Considering what Liverpool has experienced over the past two years, this is a hugely important community engagement programme

Liverpool City Council is funding a series of special events designed to enrich the lives of those hardest hit by the pandemic. The community programme aims to slowly reintroduce culture into the lives of clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) individuals and those who have been shielding during the pandemic, and those who have experienced mental health challenges, bereavements or even financial hardship.

Altered Scale Theatre Liverpool When Another Dragon Roars
'When Another Dragon Roars' aims to address young people’s mental health issues Image: Altered Scale Theatre

The initiative aims to reduce social isolation and loneliness, promote improved wellbeing and empower residents who have been adversely impacted by COVID-19. 

Activities on offer range from performances in the grounds of care homes, cinema screenings for those who have been shielding, aerial productions that explore mental health and creative workshops which will give young cancer patients the chance to mix with others after periods of isolation.

Councillor Frazer Lake, LCC’s Cabinet Member for Social Care and Health, said; “Liverpool has a very high proportion of people at risk and throughout the pandemic it was devastating to see our high rates of infection and death. 

2020 09 24 Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Liverpool Philharmonic will give CEV residents free access to a series of concerts Image: Culture Liverpool

“We still have around 46,000 people who are classed as high-risk, so it’s no surprise there is some trepidation now that COVID-19 regulations have been lifted.

“Considering what Liverpool has experienced over the past two years, this is a hugely important community engagement programme. The benefits of integrating culture into people’s lives are well documented – it improves mental health, boosts morale and the benefits of that feel-good factor should never be underestimated.”

The events will be delivered by arts organisations across the city. 

A series of music activities and events from the Liverpool Philharmonic will give CEV residents free access to concerts, in-person and online, and the funding will also allow for the creation of drop-in music sessions Music Mondays which will allow residents to connect with others and boost wellbeing through music.

Cinema Nation Toxteth Granby
Cinema Nation launch their project 'Shield Circles' Image: Culture Liverpool

Workshops facilitated by the Bluecoat display centre team will see them join forces with the Clatterbridge Cancer Centre’s dedicated Teenage and Young Adult (TYA) unit, to create a series of craft workshops led by professional creatives to benefit the young cancer patients.

Theatre company Nwoko Arts will produce a 30-minute show consisting of dance, music and mime. The multi-sensory show will be aimed at care home residents and will take place inside the home or in its grounds. As part of the creative process, the memories and hopes of the care home residents will be recorded and used in the final performances.

LIMF Academy has introduced Changing the Narrative to support musicians on their mental health and wellbeing journey. Aimed at 18-30 year-olds, the free programme builds confidence and explores how they can move forward with a fresh focus and renewed energy in their careers and personal life.

The Bluecoat Liverpool School Lane Arts Culture Pic Vma
The Bluecoat is partnering with Clatterbridge Cancer Centre Image: Confidentials

DaDaFest will bring together disabled people in Liverpool to share their experiences of shielding - working with artists, their stories will be transformed into poetry. Merseyside Dance Initiative will encourage people with Down Syndrome to take part in accessible dance classes.

Other highlights include When Another Dragon Roars by Altered Scale Theatre, online art classes courtesy of dot-art, and free cinema screenings from Cinema Nation.

Harry Doyle, LCC’s Cabinet Member for Culture and Visitor Economy, said; “This is a beautiful, and moving, programme which will reconnect some of our most vulnerable residents with culture, build their confidence and essentially bring some much-needed joy into their lives. 

“Once again, our creative sector has excelled itself in stepping up to the challenge and providing a series of events which will be transformative for so many.”

The programme will be delivered throughout the year and the latest details can be found on the Culture Liverpool website.

Read next: Top things to do in Liverpool - March 2022

Read again: Notebook with handwritten ‘Hey Jude’ lyrics goes on display at The Beatles Story

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