Colourful art packs help Norfolk families in lockdown

Co-ordinator Ruthie Collins with some of the children who have been taking part

Co-ordinator Ruthie Collins with some of the children who have been taking part in the Rainbow Art Making Club, promoting wellbeing for children and their families. From left, Harley Carey, eight; Merie Zipfel, eight; Scarlett Sharp, nine; Otis Collins, nine; and brothers, Evan, four, and Fynn Weston, eight. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

A project started to help children and their families wellbeing through art and activity packs has celebrated a successful first year.

The Rainbow Art Making Club was started by mums Ruthie Collins and Jessica Sharp in the first lockdown to help promote wellbeing and mindfulness, celebrate kindness and connect people at a time when they may have felt isolated, due to shielding. 

Merie Zipfel, 8, has been supported by The Rainbow Art Club.

Merie Zipfel, 8 has been part of the project since the start.  - Credit: The Rainbow Art Club

Merie Zipfel, eight, has been involved with the club since it started last year. 

Her mum, Kim Zipfel, said: "Merie lost both her grandparents in a matter of weeks in the first lockdown. The Rainbow Making Art Club has given her the opportunity to meet up and enjoy the art and craft sessions with other children whilst introducing the concepts of mindfulness and emotional resilience through creativity.

"We have both learned skills that we have shared together, enabling us to build on the power of a positive approach to work through our grief."


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Rosanne Chaplin's daughters Leah and Isabelle have also enjoyed the activities.

She said: "It meant that they were reflecting and thinking about what helps others, and wanting to spread kindness, and also being outdoors and creative with natural things did them a lot of good."

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To mark spring, children have made posters and shared video messages to be given to local care homes to share positive messages in the community.

Some of the children who have been taking part in the Rainbow Art Making Club, promoting wellbeing

Some of the children who have been taking part in the Rainbow Art Making Club, promoting wellbeing for children and their families. From left, Harley Carey, eight; Merie Zipfel, eight; Scarlett Sharp, nine; Otis Collins, nine; and brothers, Evan, four, and Fynn Weston, eight. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Mrs Collins, from Thorpe St Andrews, said she and Jessica wanted to turn the situation into a positive and help others.

She said: "‘We shielded in the first lockdown and I noticed a bit of a gap in terms of support for the families all over the country having to shield and manage the anxiety of living with additional health risk in the pandemic.

"Since then the need for wellbeing for all children has become much more visible, so the club has been a great way to help children connect, introduce mindfulness techniques and inspire kindness in a fun way. Art is a great way to help."

The club has since received a number of grants including from Norfolk Community Foundation allowing the founders to send out a mix of food parcels and activity packs to more than 60 families in Norfolk.

Families who would still like to take part should email ruthie@ruthiecollins.co.uk to arrange collection or delivery of your pack.

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