Awards by Well Newcastle Gateshead Arts Fund

At Well Newcastle Gateshead (WNG) we want to support projects and initiatives that can improve the health and wellbeing of our disadvantaged communities using arts and culture to bring people together and act as a catalyst for positive change.

Our vision is to:

  • Create – exploring the connection between health and the arts in the most challenged local communities; we’re working in four localities in the area
  • Connect – working creatively with, their parents and grandparents to improve school readiness;
  • Aspire – looking at mental health, low self-esteem and social isolation in estates.

Over the last few months we’ve been setting up our Well Newcastle Gateshead Arts Fund to build the capacity of arts and well-being work in the four localities within which we work and to test out approaches with our target audience (families with children 2-7 years old; and men and women in their middle adulthood who are experiencing low self-esteem and social isolation).

The work delivered via this fund will build on the first project we commissioned, a year ago, ‘My Story. My Place, My Future’ which used storytelling as a way of introducing reading as fun to very young children living in areas of deprivation where their families have challenges in helping their children to read. The project, led by Seven Stories (the National Centre for Children’s Books) trained teachers of Nursery and/or Reception groups, led storytelling parties for families, and workshops for families on reading together; as well as providing bespoke ‘Hooks into Book packs’.

"I’m a parent who has just joined the Story Sacks Course…you might find that doing this wouldn’t be interesting but you couldn’t be more wrong. Reading a story to your child should be an everyday thing, well it is (now) in my home…" Parent from Broadwood Primary School

The Arts Fund has now made two awards, both to organisations working in schools to improve the emotional wellbeing of children:

  • Using puppets to explore emotional issues – a qualified and experienced Nurture Practitioner will work with a small group of at-risk children that have been identified as having emotional well-being needs to explore emotional issues in more depth, and, in consultation with parents and teachers, tailored intervention plans will be developed for these children.
  • Over 39 weeks, The Twisting Ducks Theatre Company will plan and deliver a series of ten 1 hour-long creative workshops to 120 pre-school children aged 3 to 5 (alongside their parents, grandparents and carers) across 7 schools in the west end of Newcastle. The workshops will use story-telling, signified play objects, dance/movement and drama to help children explore feelings and behaviours as part of their personal social and emotional development.