COVID-19 Prompt Action Fund supports craft project combatting loneliness and isolation during lockdown

A decorated sign saying South Molton Scrapstore

Posted on: 5 June 2020

South Molton Scrapstore has been making the most of the £500 grant it received from Devon County Council’s COVID-19 Prompt Action Fund to help tackle loneliness and isolation through crafting during the coronavirus outbreak.

Unable to run its usual community craft sessions the group has found a new way to support local people and promote mental wellbeing by providing free craft packs, especially to those struggling with the impacts of lockdown.

The grant has helped with the purchase of materials and activities, including weaving kits, journaling supplies, puzzle books and colouring pages. These are locally sourced where possible so that the project can help support traders in the community during the coronavirus outbreak.

With strong links to Plastic Free South Molton, the project also ensures that the packs are as environmentally friendly as possible, using brown paper bags and mainly local or recycled materials.

The project has delivered over 510 packs and has sent additional bulk packs of supplies to group homes and dementia care units.

Many of those receiving the packs are elderly, have learning disabilities or conditions such a dementia meaning that self-isolation is especially challenging and lonely. The craft packs improve wellbeing and ensure they continue to feel connected.

The project also offers online platforms, including a Facebook page, where people can share their creations and ideas and maintain social contact with others.

Sally Rainger, who runs the project, said: “We started the South Molton Scrapstore last year with the aim of bringing the community together and promoting wellbeing. Taking part in craft activities can have a positive impact on your mental health and can really help if you’re feeling anxious or lonely, so we felt it was more important than ever to carry on during the lockdown, even though we couldn’t get together in person.

“As well as giving people something practical to do while we we’re all stuck at home, the craft packs helped inspire people to share their creativity and stay connected with the community. They’ve been so popular, and it has been lovely to see so many people young and old enjoying them. A big thank you to Devon County Council and the local community for their support.”

Councillor Roger Croad

Councillor Roger Croad

Councillor Roger Croad, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities, said: “Now more than ever it’s so important to look after our mental health and remain connected as a community. It is good to see the excellent work the South Molton Scrapstore project is doing to help local people, including those who are most vulnerable, and we’re proud to be able to support it.”

Councillor Jeremy Yabsley

Councillor Jeremy Yabsley

Councillor Jeremy Yabsley, Devon County Council’s Local Member for South Molton, said: “It is great to see the positive work going on within our community at what is a challenging time for all. The South Molton Scrapstore is doing great work to help support local people and combat the impacts of self-isolation. I’m glad that we have been able to support it through the COVID-19 Prompt Action Fund.”

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