Art for Community’s sake
Did you know: your Coop has already donated around £40,000 to worthy local causes across the Channel Islands so far this year?
Thanks to the Coop Community Fund, by being a Member of your Channel Islands Coop you are helping to give back to projects and causes right here in our islands.
What’s more, all proceeds from the sales of plastic bags are going to our Community Fund helping to support even more charitable and community activities across Jersey and Guernsey.
Recently, we caught up with one of the recipients of our Community Fund from earlier this year to find out how your support is helping to make a real difference.
This is Liberate’s story.
In a small, island community like Guernsey, sometimes it can be challenging to meet and get to know new people.
Regardless of whether a person is new to the island, feels ‘different,’ or is just introverted and shy, often getting out and socialising can be difficult and can often lead to loneliness, isolation, and depression.
It was during the global pandemic that these issues were heightened and the need to connect and communicate with others – whatever form it may take- became even more apparent.
Luckily, the lockdown inspired islanders to discover new ways in which to socialise.
Thus started the Liberate Art Club.
Liberate Art Club is an inclusive creative space to improve and maintain mental health, reduce isolation and loneliness, and develop artistic skills.
An informal club that started during the lockdown has now grown to be a regular, weekly catch-up.
‘The art club is just a small, diverse group of friendly people meeting up for an hour or two to be creative,' says co-founder of the club, Sophie Anderson.
The club was formed when Joni Nettleship and Sophie Anderson, Liberate volunteers and art teachers, recognised a need for somewhere for the LGBTQ+ community and allies, to get together in a quiet space to reduce loneliness and improve mental health through art.
‘We welcome all, regardless of artistic 'ability', to do as much or as little as you like. Whether that is doing no art, simply listening with a coffee or staring into space - these are all fine.
Put simply, we really are just a social club with crayons!’
Each week, the club host a different theme to inspire artists, but this is the most structure that the art club sees. How artists want to interpret and create their art is up to them.
‘Our club uses all sorts of media, painting, drawing, knitting, plus more. However, making sure that we have enough materials to ensure that the classes are accessible and free to all was beginning to become a challenge.
This is when we chose to apply to the Coop Community Fund.’
In spring 2022, Joni submitted an application to the Coop Community Fund for art materials for Liberate’s art club.
‘We requested around £1,500 to use towards the purchase of art products and materials’ explained Joni. ‘The most important part of the club for us is ensuring that it remains open to all.
The aims of the club are to reduce social isolation, promote creativity, improve mental health and work with other community groups and charitable organisations to make a positive difference to the wellbeing of the people of Guernsey.
Our attendees are diverse, but all enjoy being together to create artwork and talk. One regular attendee calls it his ‘lifesaver.’
The group were successful in their application and were rewarded with a grant of £1,500 to use towards supplies and materials for the art club. It was a donation which was extremely well-received from the members of the art club.
‘This donation of £1,500 from the Coop Community Fund has come at the perfect time,’ said Joni.
‘We are really pleased to see our popularity growing and this donation from the Coop Community Fund means we can buy more art materials and make art more accessible to all.’
The art club have already been busy during 2022, and have a lot more activities planned for the remainder of the year.
‘So far, we’ve hosted art club events in Sausmarez Park and at the Folk & Costume Museum. We have been stamp printing with the help from local charity, Guernsey Blind Association, created art inspired by the sea at La Vallette bathing pool, plus, we have an upcoming exhibition this summer at the Mill Street Community Café, as well as plans for Channel Islands Pride and Christmas cards.
There is always something happening which islanders are more than welcome to get involved with.’
If you’re part of a local project or club looking for funding to help continue making a real difference in our community, why not consider applying to the Coop Community Fund today?
Applications for the Coop Community Fund remain open all year-round with pay-outs being made to successful projects in spring and autumn.
More details on the Society’s community fund can be found at: www.channelislands.coop/communityfund