COVID-19 arts project helps bring community together

A Kirkby Lonsdale art project about the emotional impact of COVID-19, is uniting the community and raising funds to help young people struggling with mental ill health.

The Social Butterfly Project was launched last November by Lunesdale Learning Trust, Queen Elizabeth School and QEStudio School’s art department.

The aim was to share the emotional impact of COVID-19 and respond to a multi-church ambition to make better use of the town’s religious buildings and spaces.

The first part of the project involved students and staff from both schools making clay angels and wooden Christmas trees to sell.

It gave crafters, working to social distancing guidance, an opportunity to talk about how COVID-19 had affected and raise funds for the Ambleside based youth charity, Brathay Trust’s Young Minds Matter Appeal.

The second part of the project, an art installation in the grounds of St Mary’s Church opened at Easter.

Created by Trish Phillips,  art teacher at QEStudio School – the One Day I Will… is a greenhouse frame with a message wall.

People were invited to complete the sentence One Day I Will….

Their comments ranged from ‘not feel afraid again’ to ‘meet family again’ and ‘sit with my friend and maybe have a hug’.

In total, the Lunesdale Learning Trust fundraiser raised £2,790.43 to help young people in Cumbria affected by poor mental health.

Brathay runs wellbeing projects in Barrow-in-Furness, Kendal and Carlisle.

Trish said: “All of us, in some way, have been affected by this pandemic.

“The aim of this project was to unite locals and young people through the medium of art, offering spaces to reflect together, on the emotional impact of COVID-19.

“It’s given us time to stop and share our experiences and to send messages of healing and love through the powerful medium of art.

“We hope that the Social Butterfly Project might continue to evolve, restore perspective, and offer a space in our schools and the community to reflect together.”

Scott Umpleby, Brathay’s head of fundraising said young people had particularly felt the damaging effect of the pandemic.

He said anxiety, depression, loneliness, suicide, loss and a sense of people being increasingly polarised have had a profound effect on many and that with these alarming trends, shared spaces can play a vital role in improving emotional health.

“All monies raised will go to Brathay’s Young Minds Matter appeal,” said Scott.

“It will allow us to provide more targeted programmes for increasing numbers of young people struggling with mental health difficulties.

“We’re working to help reduce these numbers, and fundraising plays a vital role.”

For more information about Brathay’s Young Minds Matter Appeal visit https://www.brathay.org.uk/donate/young-minds-matter

Arts – Cumbria Crack