Everybody’s Home Kit reaches out to communities across north Notts and north Derbyshire

Time capsules, colouring books, puppets, isolation selfie-frames and a thank you letter to key workers are just some of the things winding their way to homes in Ashfield, Mansfield, Bolsover and North East Derbyshire as part of the jam-packed Everybody’s Home Kits being sent out from today.

Produced by First Art in partnership with a number of organisations including Mansfield, Ashfield and Bolsover District Councils, hundreds of Kits are being provided free of charge, designed to offer some entertainment and light relief during the Covid-19 lockdown. There’s also useful information from the councils included to help direct people should they need support. The Kits are part of the organisation’s long-distance festival, Go the Distance.

The First Art team has spent the last month developing the Kit which has been specially designed to ensure a quality product for people to enjoy using.

A number of illustrators, from both the local area and further afield, were commissioned to capture this historical moment. Drawings of familiar scenes, such as one in Mansfield Market Place by Seanna Doonan, and accolades to key workers in illustrations by Liv Auckland and Abi Stevens are just some of the pictures featured in the Go the Distance Colouring Book included in the Kit.

An Activity Pack book featuring all sorts of things to do along with many of the resources are also in the Kit, like illustrated cut-out puppets, an isolation selfie-frame, a time capsule to complete, a ‘create your own’ comic book, postcards featuring some of the illustrations and more.

One of the activities is a thank you letter to write to key workers which will then come back to First Art to hopefully form part of the Festival. 

“We’ve tried to create a package that caters for all ages. Activities have been designed with both single households and those with more than one in mind,” explained First Art Project Manager, Vanessa Oxspring.

Funded through Arts Council England with some additional funding from Mansfield District Council and BCVS Bolsover Together, First Art worked with a range of partners to help make this happen and get the Kits out to as many households as possible, for free, including Ashfield District Council, Bolsover District Council, Active Notts, Active Derbyshire, Rykneld Homes, Junction Arts, and Nonsuch Studios.

The Kits are being distributed throughout Bolsover and North East Derbyshire districts in Derbyshire, and Ashfield and Mansfield in Nottinghamshire with the help of a number of different organisations including schools, food banks, housing associations, patient participant groups, and District and Parish Councils.  

” To get a festival launched and then create a comprehensive resources kit of such quality from scratch, and arrange printing, assembly and distribution with social distancing measures in place has been no mean feat. It’s required an epic effort from our team and the partners we’ve worked with. But this means that over 2,000 homes will get these fantastic Everybody’s Home Kits full of great things to do together with vital service information for those who cannot access it online, commented Karl Greenwood, First Art Director.

“Due to funding we can only get so many out to people for free. Working with local councils, food banks and other such support organisations, we can ensure we get these out safely to the communities we want to reach through this project. We’d really like to thank all our partners for their support on this. In times like these, working together is more important than ever before.”

Mansfield Mayor, Andy Abrahams, said: “We are pleased to be supporting the delivery of Go the Distance Festival in the Bellamy Road area. It is so important to keep your mind and body active and to have some fun at a time when you can feel quite isolated and disconnected – a festival at home is a great way to do this”.

Some 230 Kits will also be sent out free to households that signed up online. This proved very popular, with sign-ups pouring in less than 24-hours from opening. Allocated on a first come, first served basis, sign-ups for free kits have been closed online but First Art is looking into the possibility of providing the Kits and some of the contents of the Kit for sale via its website. Any income made will go directly back into the communities First Art works with.

More details of Go the Distance Festival and all that is happening can be found at www.firstart.org.uk/gothedistance and on social media with the hashtag #gothedistancefest.

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