Stephanie Davies and volunteers at Blackburn Hall, organising craft packs for vulnerable people during lockdown

Lotherton’s assistant community curator Stephanie Davies has devised a creative way to keep in touch with the local community through a free craft box scheme. The 70 packs, which include a piece of plain white cotton and a variety of different sewing and craft resources, have been designed for vulnerable people who are experiencing the difficulties of self-isolation.

A craft pack with a cotton square and a variety of creative materials to decorate it with

Each individual receives a phone call from a local volunteer who discusses their needs in order to create a specially adapted craft pack. The volunteers modify the materials and resources for each person and encourage them to decorate the cotton square with a thank you message or image, highlighting anyone who has cared for them during the lockdown period.

Once the packs have been organised and distributed, a volunteer buddy assists the individual in their creative project to help them produce a thank you square. On completion the squares are sent back to Lotherton’s History Group volunteers to be carefully stitched together. The pieces will eventually form a large banner which is intended for  display at the re-scheduled Nurses’ Picnic in 2021, celebrating the hard-working nursing staff of Leeds and beyond.

Mandy Farr and her son Joe Williams with craft packs for community

Everyone who takes part will be invited to the Nurses’ Picnic to see the banner and give thanks to everyone that supported them during the coronavirus pandemic. The event will include a gala/march , where banners will be carried by retired miners marking Hospital Day. Hospital Day was used to raise money for beds in hospitals for miners from the local villages, before the National Health Service was established.

Lotherton partnered with Rothwell Live at Home and Garforth NET in supporting SWIFT (Supporting Wellbeing Independence for Frailty) to bring the project to fruition. The project was developed and designed to encourage the positive mental wellbeing of frail people currently in isolation. Working with communities is at the heart of Leeds Museums & Galleries ethos and engaging those who have been hit hardest by the effects of lockdown has been key a focus for the Community team.

Discover the Florence Nightingale online exhibition and find out how to get involved with future activities.