A brand-new creative wellbeing programme called ‘Try It!’ is launching across Coventry and Warwickshire this autumn inviting people to have a go at everything from skateboarding to chair yoga and from upcycling to enviro-art.
Coventry City of Culture Trust, Health Exchange, Warwickshire County Council and Age UK have teamed up to invite residents across the region to take part in the 10-week programme of sessions and workshops run by specialist practitioners. The programme is supported by funding from the National Lottery Community Fund, Warwickshire County Council and Spirit of 2012.
The weekly workshops and clubs encompass a wide range of activities falling under the themes of creative writing and poetry, storytelling, drama and spoken word, visual arts and making, dance, music and sports. They include Bhangra Tots, journaling for new mums, the creation of Coventry Wellness Choir, ‘Fun with Folk Art’, a contemporary creative dancing class for ages 50+ and a ‘Create and Repair Club’, plus drumming and steel pan workshops.
The programme begins on October 2, with a special Taster Day at the Belgrade Theatre from 10am – 4.30pm where people will have the opportunity to try some of the different activities and sessions for themselves including dancing, playing the drums, enjoying making and singing, writing poetry and telling stories.
The ‘Try It!’ programme encourages people of all ages and backgrounds to engage with community groups and activities in order to improve health and wellbeing. This could be reducing loneliness and isolation, raising physical activity levels or using creative techniques to have a positive emotional boost.
Jo Judges, Director of Services, Age UK Coventry & Warwickshire, said: "Age UK is delighted to support this initiative. It offers our clients the opportunity to engage with a wide range of arts and movement activities regardless of ability, that they may not have access too. Participation in the arts can help increase social connection and improve wellbeing."
Nicola Earles, Head of Social Prescribing Operations & Volunteer Lead (Birmingham, Sandwell, Coventry, and Warwickshire) for Health Exchange, said: “Health Exchange is really excited about our involvement with the ‘Try It!’ Programme.
“For a lot of our service users trying a new activity or joining a group can be a daunting prospect. However, using this method we can support them to see what is available and talk through our own experiences of trying out the sessions to see what would be the best fit for them.
“We are really excited to see how the programme of sessions evolves and opens up opportunities to the residents of Coventry.”
All the clubs, courses and workshops being offered are listed in a new brochure, which will be available in the City of Culture shop on Hertford Street from Wednesday September 29, and also be distributed to community centres, surgeries, family hubs and libraries across the city. The brochure has a detailed summary of each club, the dates, times and locations, as well as the benefits you could gain from taking part in each activity.
Chenine Bhathena, Creative Director at Coventry City of Culture Trust, said:
“Creative community and social clubs provide vital services for many people in our communities, and during the pandemic the importance of these groups were highlighted even further when they had to close overnight.
“Suddenly, these spaces which provide people with a place to express themselves, socialise, get exercise and sometimes even eat a hot meal had to stop in person meetings, often leaving people feeling isolated.
“The role these groups play in supporting our physical and mental wellbeing became abundantly clear over the past 12 months, and as the world continues to emerge from the pandemic, now is a great time for people, no matter their age, to get involved with some of the clubs and groups running sessions in Coventry through the ‘Try It!’ programme.
“The Taster Day on October 2 is a great opportunity for people to try something new or pick up an old hobby, make some new friends and have fun, all while giving their health and wellbeing a boost. We can’t wait to see the people of Coventry giving these sessions a go.”