Community group continues to improve wellbeing despite Covid-19

A group set up to help women make new friends, exercise and take part in activities to help their wellbeing, is among Mildenhall projects to receive locality backing from local councillors.

WalknCraft members normally meet at the St Johns Community Centre but have been continuing their art sessions throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, albeit over Zoom video chats, while members have recently started their twice a month local walks although Covid restrictions have limited these walks to six people at a time.

Their activities are supported by independent West Suffolk councillors Richard Alecock, Andy Neal and Ian Shipp who represent the town and who each gave £200 from their locality budget to support the cost of materials for the craft sessions.

Allison Holloway, group secretary, said: “ArtatworkNorwich, who started the group, encouraged us to keep it going before they handed over the reins last October. It felt like we had just started to form again as a group when lockdown happened and put a lot of our plans on hold. But we have had some fun Zoom sessions, some of it carrying out abstract art and learning new techniques such as Pointillism, an art form using dots, and we have more planned between now and the end of the year. We’ve also been making scrub bags for the NHS, face masks, knitting, painting, up cycling old furniture and much more.

“Being able to continue like this has been so important, some of our members are isolated and for all of us it is a chance to totally immerse ourselves in some of the arts and craft challenges. It really makes such a difference and we all come away feeling so much better for it. We didn’t all know each other before we started, but now we are great friends, they are just absolutely lovely people.”

To find out more about the group which has a couple of spare places, email allyh1957@gmail.com or call 07882 643824 – and see their work on Instagram at WalknCraft

WalknCraft isn’t the only project in the town backed by the three councillors.

They have also supported:

£200 each toward EPIC Dad for baby packs including nappies, wet wipes, formula milk, baby food and Sharing Parenting Family Resource Packs including games, crafts, stationary, parent manual, and helpful support information which were distributed to families struggling with financial hardship, self-isolation during lockdown;

£200 each to support the Mildenhall Covid-19 Volunteer emergency response;

£280 each to the Lunch Bunch at St John’s for a pantomime trip for 35 members which took place before the pandemic.

Many of the other projects they have backed are delayed or on hold due to Covid-19.

These include:

£250 each towards the Kimberley Ann’s Theatre School (KATS) towards costumes to enable 50 KATS students to perform at the Royal Albert Hall;

£183 each toward 2nd Mildenhall Guides Outdoor Activity;

£100 each toward Mildenhall Scout Group scouts supervisor leadership training;

£100 each toward Mildenhall and District Sea Cadet Unit improvements to the sea cadets building;

£100 each towards a Royal British Legion – Mildenhall Branch Victory in Europe 75th anniversary event, now to take place when it is safe.

Mildenhall groups interested in finding out on whether locality budgets can support their projects to benefit the local community are asked to contact councillors Alecock, Neal and Shipp.

Councillors across West Suffolk have a locality budget available to community groups for projects or activities that the whole local community can enjoy.

To apply, contact your ward local councillor.

Pictured above is the WalknCraft Zoom craft – one of the crafting sessions that the group has held as a way of continuing its activities which are designed to help wellbeing. Image courtesy of the WalknCraft group.

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