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FREE ART ACTIVITIES for Girdlestone Art Group

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My name is Marta, I am an independent artist also known as Mei Mei. I have now set up my own Community Interest Company called Mei Mei Social.

The project I'm raising funds for is a free weekly art class for elderly people at Girdlestone Community Centre in Archway, North London. The classes aim to add extra value, enhancing the lives of people living on the Girdlestone estate, preventing isolation and providing the opportunity to develop new making skills, as well as sharing and strengthening creative ideas.

Throughout my art career I have been involved in many social projects, developing art-related activities for members of different communities: children, young people and adults from disadvantaged backgrounds, I have run workshops in homeless shelters and have also worked and volunteered with other organisations and charities that serve a wide range of community members including housing and support for vulnerable war veterans, and elder people in care homes or living on their own. I always try to bring a creative time and space for people to express themselves, explore, learn and share new skills and art mediums. A place to connect and build up new relations through art.

My art career wouldn't be the same without its social side, the community interaction and the energy generated from creating together. Having this experience also tells me society needs more safe spaces to meet and connect, create, learn, and share ideas and thoughts. Exploring arts has proved to work in almost any environment, it brings out the best in each individual. Being an artist myself this is what I do best and I want to keep offering and expanding my community art activities so more people can benefit from it.

Girdlestone Community centre – at 151 Salisbury Walk, N19 5DX – has an operating hall for hire where The Girdlestone Art Group runs a weekly free art class every Wednesday from 10 am to 12 pm.

The group has been operating on the premises for a long time, and it has grown and changed organically through word of mouth. The COVID pandemic had a strong impact, we have sadly lost some members and others have developed health difficulties. We managed to reopen and kept the group motivated through regular Zoom encounters and home-delivered art activities, but the group needs a boost. We need to reach more people in the area, and offer more refreshing activities in the class but also outdoors.

Girdlestone Art Group used to have regular visits to Museums and Galleries in the past, but that part of the funding isn't there anymore. Planning outdoor day trips is an essential part of the project, as well as inviting other art practitioners to the classes so they can learn and share different skills and mediums. The area doesn't offer many free creative experiences for older people and we as a group want to offer another extra session of 2 hours on Wednesday Afternoons, so more locals can benefit from the activities.

I started this CIC organisation because I have worked with elderly people for a long time and these people are now my friends, they are part of my life and support. All these years of experience made me realise the value that free access to arts has for the community, learning and exploring arts together help us to build connections in the community, this is essential, particularly for elder people living on their own. Covid pandemic reinforced that idea, I could see how some members of my group struggled, they felt lonely, isolated and abandoned by society.

Your donation will help to improve the quality of life for the members of this group and the new residents that will join us in the future. It will help us to continue the activities and expand our project while we look for other ways of obtaining funding for these purposes.

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Thanks for your help
Girdlestone Art Group
Mei Mei Social CIC



Marta Martinez Corada

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