Crafts scheme funded by councillor to support warm spaces is praised

Jo Rayner with Michelle Freeman of Craft Foxes, outside the Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds with one of the snowmen. Photo: West Suffolk Council.

A crafts activity funded through a councillor’s locality budget and delivered to people using some of the town’s warm spaces over the winter, has been praised.

The Crafty Foxes distributed 200 winter activity packs to warm spaces including Art Branches, Bury Drop In, the Theatre Royal and St Edmundsbury Cathedral, made free to individuals and families thanks to a £1,000 locality budget grants from West Suffolk councillor Jo Rayner.

Packs were also delivered to Bury children’s home and to the Rainbow Ward, at West Suffolk Hospital, as well as workshops delivered at the Angel Hill College, part of the Priory School and to a charity for the deaf and blind which meets in Northgate Street.

The activity has received positive feedback from the Theatre Royal which has been offering Toasty Tuesdays, a warm meeting space for people to use throughout the winter.

Emma Thorpe, Young People’s Producer at the Theatre Royal, said: “It was a useful initiative for people to not only engage with us as a venue but to connect with one another within the community especially in these testing times. The craft packs and beautifully planned and presented activities added an additional draw to our offer for children and families and encouraged people to return each week and take time out of their day to be creative and get involved.”

Councillor Rayner, who represents the Abbeygate Ward in Bury St Edmunds, said: “The idea behind the packs was to help encourage people to use warm spaces and give them something fun and engaging to do while they were there. I’m pleased to hear how well they have been received and to have supported The Crafty Foxes in this initiative.”

Michelle Freeman, from The Crafty Foxes, said: “We recognise that this has been a difficult and challenging winter and we wanted to work with many of the organisations in the town including many of the warm spaces on offer. The craft packs included materials to make your own sock snowman as well as colouring books and pens and pencils, meaning for those who took part before Christmas, it could also be used as a Christmas ornament especially for some of the residents that we were working with who were in temporary accommodation or in the hospital.

“The theatre wasn’t the only organisation to feedback how well these had been received and we are grateful to councillor Rayner for supporting this so that we could distribute these packs to people for free.”

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