‘Art in a box’ project helps the homeless

A community group came up with a creative new project to give homeless people access to art activities. 

Catching Lives, an organisation that supports rough sleepers, the homeless and vulnerably housed in Canterbury and East Kent, received £5,000 funding from then Kent Community Foundation to help the homeless. 

They used the funding to introduce the new ‘Art in a Box’ project, which involved local artists donating their time to create activities and colouring sheets for clients to use.

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Terry Gore, general manager at Catching Lives Canterbury Open Centre, said: “We were pleasantly surprised at how popular the “Art in a Box” packs were – even people who had never engaged with our usual art activities at the centre were keen to receive a pack. 

“There was such a positive response to the packs that we will continue to work delivering remote art activities in this way. We were also able to share our surplus packs with other organisations supporting the homeless and young people, thus reaching homeless people who would normally not get the opportunity to engage in our art and craft activities.”

‘The funding makes a huge difference’

An outreach officer for Catching Lives said the art activities were a great distraction for those with addiction, “especially in the early hours when TV was rubbish and there was nowhere for them to go”. They said some recipients used the activities as a competition with each other, boasting that theirs was the best! A couple of people have kept their projects with them in their personal belongings, they said. 

“This funding makes a huge difference, and we would like to say a very big thank you to Kent Community Foundation and The Lawson Fund, for their support.”

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Grant-maker Kent Community Foundation has been finding, funding, and supporting some of the smallest voluntary organisations in the county for 20 years. In this time, it has distributed over £45 million to support thousands of small charities and deserving causes where a modest sum of money can make a significant impact. Find out more here.