Coordinator Helen Young introduces our new ‘Culture and Connections’ project in this week’s guest blog.
Culture and Connections is a social project being piloted by Ripon Museums Trust in partnership with the University of York. The project aims to improve mental wellbeing and reduce the practical and emotional impacts of social isolation. The success of the project will be evaluated by the University of York and participants will be invited to contribute to the research.
I will be creating opportunities for people to make connections, to meet new friends and to get involved in the local community, socially or as a volunteer. Participants will be invited to take part in a wide range of activities at Ripon Museums Trust, starting with taster sessions including craft activities, working behind the scenes, helping in the gardens and object handling. I will link each person to a ‘buddy’ who can help them to participate in the activities. This should work well for anyone who lacks confidence, finds it difficult to make new friends or who faces other low level physical or mental health barriers.
Most people are eligible to use this new service, and may have a number of reasons for wishing to take part. The scheme is open to anyone who would like to try something new but may be particularly useful for people who are feeling socially isolated or who would like to improve their wellbeing. People can be referred to the organisations that they are involved with, their local GP or they can complete a ‘self’ referral. There is no cost to participating in Culture and Connections.
If people come along and find that they enjoy the taster sessions, they will be invited to take part in further activities and may eventually become part of the friendly team here at Ripon Museums. As part of the project, I can also direct people to other opportunities around the area, depending on their interests.