Sally Young, Community Arts Partnership’s Masque Project Co-ordinator speaks about Lockdown and CAP’s new annual programme

How are you coping during the Lockdown?

At the start of the Lockdown I was in total efficiency mode, i found that I coped best with having a structured day, and as I still was working from home part time this helped a lot. As time goes on it’s getting harder to concentrate! I think I’m ready to go back to work when I’m allowed.

I’m missing the social aspect of work, seeing different places, even my morning evening commute on the train!

How are you preparing for the new annual programme?

Chatting to groups we have worked with explaining how we hope to move on;  asking what their plans are. To be honest, most people are still up in the air!

What challenges are there in conducting community arts classes during this difficult period?

In some ways easy, in that over lLckdown I have been interacting with groups in my freelance work by sending out work packs. But the main problem is no one can plan anything as nothing is written in stone, nothing is 100%, and to be honest, there seems to be a plethora of online content around. I think it lacks the personal touch, that makes CAP so successful. I think we need to be engaging with our groups on a one to one level, as to what suits, say, one big community organisation, might not suit another smaller rural one. Also that a lot of groups might not have good internet access, or equipment to access this in a group setting?

What new skills are you working on in order to deliver the programme?

Definitely learning how to make videos. I’m not comfortable with being in the film, but I have to get over myself. A group of CAP coordinators are supporting each other in this, there’s safety in numbers. But its definitely the way ahead!

Why does Community arts matter during this period?

People are feeling socially isolated, not in their comfort zone. Young people not being able to socialize as normal, no school, no clubs. Older people have no day centres, no mens’ sheds, no church. We need to find ways people can get together safely again, to be creative, to enjoy switching off from Lockdown and all it entails, to get their brains working again, to enjoy the benefits that being creative in a group with feedback from others bring (however this may happen).

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New Belfast Community Arts Initiative trading as Community Arts Partnership is a registered charity (XR 36570) and a company limited by guarantee (Northern Ireland NI 37645).Registered with The Charity Commission as New Belfast Community Arts Initiative - NIC105169.