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Making a difference while making good news!

Community Art Project, 2018

Children from Lewisham have explored their local community creating connections through acts of kindness and exchange, finding and sharing common ground.

The current digital landscape has put growing pressure on children due to the easy access to frightening and upsetting news as well as becoming victims of a selfie-culture, that scientists have linked to narcissism, addiction and mental illness.

Four local groups of children aged between 10-12, were paired up with four local charities to create and donate a gift carrying a positive and uplifling message of love.

Through 15 creative workshops facilitated by artists and social workers, over 100 children experienced the joy and power of making and giving together. It was challenging! Kids have learned new skills: how to work from a brief, sewing & hand sewing, to cut fabrics and combine colours, to pin and how to make an image with textile materials.

From being powerlessly exposed to the poblems in the world, the children involved in "Bags of Love" sprinkled magic and hope in the community of Lewisham.

Pupils from Childeric Primary School made personalised memory cushions for the residents of Greenhive Dementia Carehome after visiting them to find out what they liked and cherished.

“I felt nervous and then I felt happy that I made someone else happy!” pupil

“I really liked the conversation with the children, and love the picture of my daughter, I can look at it every day and smile.” Moe, resident at Greenhive

'The children loved it and it was important experience for them, one that they won't forget!” Misha, Teacher

Children of SIGNAL, Autism in Lewisham, learned about the life of a homeless person and made personalised wash bags filled with donated toiletries for the homeless at St Mungo's in New Cross.

"I loved making and decorating the bag and filling it with toiletries." Child, SIGNAL

"What a great project! Very friendly and accommodating. For once the focus was not on the Autism and their needs but on making and creating for someone else. We'd love to see more of this." Parent

"They were so happy that someone that isn't paid to look after them is actually thinking about them.", El Thomson, Service Manager, St Mungo's.

Lewisham based Syrian refugee children and their families connected with local children attending mosaic workshops at the Telegraph Hill Community Centre.

"We loved making the mosaics, we never made anything like it before. We felt welcome." Parent
"It was fun!" Child

"A favourite moment was seeing all the kids help each other independent of any adult support, and communicate fluently." Tomasz Muszynski, SHP-Single Homeless Project

“The workshops were lovely in that they allowed our families to socialise and mingle with local families over an activity that in itself was enjoyable and therapeutic too.” 'This allowed them to genuinely be a part of local community events, not by virtue of their situation but as Londoners.”
Werisha Husaini, Support Assistant, Refugee Resettlement Lewisham

Pupils from Hatcham Temple Grove Primary School made personalised wash bags filled with donated toiletries for the homeless at 999 Club in Deptford.

“I’d like to say thank you very very much.  The detail on the bag is amazing and lovely and bright. Thank you for such an amazing bag, and God bless you.”
Caz, 999 Club

"What a really lovely project, the children were very enthusiastic and had a great time making wash bags and filling them with donations for the local homeless community. Even the quieter children discussed their design ideas and shared their knowledge of homelessness, it was really heartwarming. hARTslane ran a very professional workshop and we would love to work with them again on future similar projects." Lisa Solomon HTG Art Coordinator


Produced by hARTslane (Cristiana Bottigella & Tisna Westehof)
Coordinated by Cristiana Bottigella
Workshops led by: Tisna Westerhof, artist & Mary McInerney, social worker and art facilitator
Volunteers: Cadi Freud, Jazz McInerney, Matilde Strocchi, Flynn Richards
Film: Alex Abdolwahabi

Childeric Primary School, Lewisham
Hatcham Temple Grove Primary School, Lewisham
SIGNAL, Autism in Lewisham
Syrian Vulnerable People Resettlement Scheme (Lewisham Council)
SHP Single Homeless Project
St Mungo's Charity for Homeless People
999 Club, Deptford
Greenhive Carehome, Peckham
Telegraph Hill Festival & Telegraph Hill Centre



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