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Vulnerable children across Essex get art resource packs to help them during lockdown

Our Essex Child and Family Wellbeing Service (ECFWS) has sent more than 600 vulnerable children across the county art resource packs to help keep them entertained while schools are closed during lockdown – thanks to the Royal Opera House.
Each creativity pack was handmade by ECFWS volunteers and a handful of teachers, who all donned PPE and followed social distancing guidelines.

The packs contained printed activity sheets, pens, pencils, crayons, paint sets, paintbrushes, scrap books, jumbo glue sticks, crepe paper, pipe cleaners, rubbers, pencil sharpeners and other fun things.

A recent report from the Essex children’s commissioner highlighted gaps forming in the welfare of vulnerable children due to the closure of schools in light of the COVID-19 lockdown measures.

Some families have limited access to IT services and equipment, which is compounded by the demands of lockdown and restrictions of families’ living conditions.

To help address this, Essex Child and Family Wellbeing Service (ECFWS), which we run with Barnardo’s, worked with Royal Opera House Bridge, Arts Council England, 17 primary schools, cultural providers, district councils and charities to provide the creative materials across Harlow, Braintree and Jaywick Sands.

ECFWS’s Lisa Golding, a Healthy Schools Engagement Worker based in West Essex, worked with primary schools to swiftly identify 618 vulnerable pupils who would particularly benefit from receiving one of the creative resource packs.

She said: “It was wonderful to be part of a team working on a project that reached so many children and families. It provided a resource to help support emotional health and wellbeing during such a difficult time and gave families an opportunity to enjoy quality time together.”

A delighted parent, whose daughter produced the artwork pictured, added, “Firstly many thanks for donating an art pack for my child! She is in reception class in a Harlow school and we would love to share with you the first thing we have made from the creativity pack. My husband is severely disabled and we have carers come in four times a day, so my daughter wanted to make something for the carers to show our appreciation. Thank you again and stay safe and well everyone.”

Teachers were also grateful, with one saying, “The packs look fantastic and I know the kids will love using them! You’ve done a great job with this project, thank you for organising it.

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