This month Southbank Centre launches Art by Post, a unique scheme which aims to reach people who are isolated and unable to access the internet by delivering free booklets of creative activities through the letterbox.
The poetry and art activity booklets are designed for people living with dementia and long term health conditions, and are designed to keep participants’ minds active, help them feel connected to others and improve their mental health and wellbeing. Family members, friends and carers are encourages to take part as well, to support their participation and to create opportunities for connection and shared experiences at a time when people are feeling lonely and isolated. It’s a project which builds on Southbank Centre’s popular (B)old programme of singing and poetry workshops for people with dementia, which are continuing throughout lockdown through postal activity packs and telephone calls while physical meetings aren’t possible.
A network of partners are working with the Southbank Centre, including the National Academy of Social Prescribing and a number of local charities, and have begun signing people up to receive the creative booklets by email or post. Link Workers are especially encouraged to get involved, and people can also refer a friend, family member or someone they’re caring for. It’s also possible to self-refer, and the referral form can be found on the webpage here.
Those taking part will be invited to share their creations with the Southbank Centre using the freepost envelopes provided, and when the venues reopen, there will be an installation of the unique artworks. This will be a powerful opportunity to reflect on the experience of social isolation that so many people in our society will be continuing to live with, and will also be a chance to celebrate and give a platform to this group of people whose voices have been going unheard.