Play and Stay at Barton House (Lawrence Hill)
In January 2019 two residents of Barton House, Shukri and Amal, met with The Network to discuss their idea of developing a local children’s activity group. They had identified that there were many after school clubs for children within the Somali community, but they were all based around enhancing their education. Their dream was to bring the community together, build relationships and create a weekend opportunity for creative activities to enhance children’s emotional development through play and art.
Working alongside The Network they created an action plan to develop a Play and Stay activity, identifying that they needed both a venue and someone with arts and crafts experience to deliver creative activities with the children. After some joint exploration of local venues, the Network connected them with the BCC Housing Team and the residents managed to secure Barton House community room every other Saturday morning free of charge.
The next challenge to overcome was getting someone to facilitate the creative activities as they had no money to pay someone. At the same time the Network had received several requests from other residents looking for creative art input into their activities, so we decided to approach In Bristol Studios and ask them to hold Creative Skills Training for residents to help them build their own arts skills. Shukri and Amal both attended the three-week training course whilst Shukri also attended the Network’s ‘Grow Your Group’ training, and together giving them both the skills and confidence to run the creative activities with the children themselves.
To allow them to get some initial resources from Scrap Store and refreshments the Network provided them with a small amount of money, however they are now running weekly sessions and charging 50p per family per week in order to make resourcing the activity sustainable. Four months on and the sessions are popular, with a regular turnout of up to 20 parents and children learning and being creative together.
By supporting the residents to develop their own skills instead of paying for a tutor, we have helped them become more sustainable in the long term. The residents will also be able to use their skills in other local contexts going forwards, having a knock-on effect on the wider community.