Towner Eastbourne and the South Downs National Park have joined forces to send more than 1000 creative kit bags of art materials and suggested activities to households across East Sussex, including some of the most vulnerable. 

Working in partnership, thirteen community groups, charities and local services will receive over 1000 bags in total, including Eastbourne Food Bank, Waves Seaford, Holding Space, Eastbourne NetworX, Community Stuff, Memory Lane, Children’s Services, East Sussex, Brighton Women’s Centre, AiM, Enthum Foundation and the Association of Carers. 

Willow Mitchell, Learning Curator, Towner Eastbourne, explains, “Noticing could be anything from opening a window to hear birdsong to sitting on doorstep and watching the world go by, walking round a local park, or going on adventures on the South Downs when it is safe to do so.”

Towner began distributing creative materials to households in Eastbourne and East Sussex last year during the first lockdown. So far over 1500 bags have been distributed to families and individuals. Now as the third lockdown continues to impact those who are vulnerable and self-isolating the hardest, Towner is pleased on this occasion to be able to join forces with the South Downs National Parks to support these groups.

In an initiative driven by Towner’s Learning Team – Esther Collins and Willow Mitchell – the recyclable paper bags and their artistic contents have been devised and packed with the anticipation that they will continue to provide some time for reflection and respite during these difficult times after the popular response to those distributed in 2020.

“We are committed to finding ways to support the amazing work that our partners do with those who will be hardest hit by this crisis. During the pandemic, delivering the kit bags has been an important part of how we build stronger partnerships in our community, and begin a conversation about how we might work together in the future. I hope that the new contents – which are designed to engage people in a sensory experience using natural making materials – will be a way for people to be present in the moment, and through noticing the changing seasons despite all the unknowns, experience a slower, consistent pace of life.” said Esther Collins,  Head of Learning, Towner Eastbourne

The recipients will each get both making guides and art materials with the theme of ‘Making Sense’, exploring nature, natural materials and seasonal change over the course of February and March. 

The bags will include illustrated guides by artist and award-winning illustrator Somang Lee, with prompts around ‘noticing’; how things feel, seasonal change and raw natural making materials such as chalk, charcoal, clay and water.

Take another look at Towner’s #MakeShiftStudios 

Towner also has a range of online recorded creative activities available on the Towner website for everyone to join in with. Have a look and take part in online recorded workshops with artists Amy Leung and Rachel McGivern. The online broadcasts have corresponding downloadable illustrated guides for you to enjoy at home any time you like.