River Roots: celebrating a splashing first year!

We have had great fun in our first year of our Children in Need funded project ‘River Roots’, bringing together Herefordshire communities through creative arts.

During this first year we have worked with over 200 children and young people and over 80 older adults creating visual arts, music and movement. It has been really exciting to be able to offer this opportunity to people living in Herefordshire, where during the projects children and older adult often told us they were trying something they had never done before.

It has been a wonderful year of the project where we have reached schools and community partners in Fownhope, Madley, Pontrilas and Ross-on-Wye. It has been great to develop this creative project in rural locations that can be hard to reach, and it can be difficult for the residents living in those locations to travel elsewhere. These workshops have been run by our Associate Artist Josie Rogerson, supported by Local Artist Lucy Baxendale.

We have worked with St Mary’s Primary school in Fownhope, where we have linked with the Wye Valley River Festival, creating puppets and stories to link in with the travelling festival. At this location we brought students and older adults from supported living in Fownhope together for art workshops and musical celebrations with Community Musician Bym Welthy.

“[Today was] energetic, fun and the children loved using their imagination! Brought them in to the community and out of the classroom. Great idea getting the kids to make their own instruments and use them. We had a fantastic time!” Parent at the River Roots Celebration at Faulkner House ankare.

In Ross-on-Wye we have ran workshop at the town carnival, where they made their own masks and where able to feel part of the celebrations. It was great to see families working together to make their imaginative woodland creature masks. We have also developed a connection with the Young Carers group, where they have experimented with a variety of new techniques such as print making and making willow sculptures.

In Pontrilas we have created a wall mural with the Dementia Friendly Community Craft Café. Children worked alongside older adults to create a magnificent painting inspired by their local landscapes. They have also explored using paper collage, ceramics and lantern making. It has been wonderful to see the community space develop and to be able to help the community make their stamp on it.

Madley Primary School have linked with both Dulas Court Care Home and Blackmarston SEN School. They have taken part in a range of creative art workshops, including ceramics, painting, and instrument making and playing. It has been fantastic to have time for connections to develop over the weeks between residents and students at Dulas Court, a resident telling us their favourite thing about the project was “seeing the children happy”. 

The extraordinary thing about this project is has been built around the people in their locality, in order to be able to make it work for their community. We are excited to be continuing this project in the New Year, and look forward to connecting different generations through creativity! Keep an eye out on our social media and website for info on public events and workshops near you!

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