Morecambe food and art collective creates programme to help rebuild community connection

Thanks to a creative commission from the charity, Voluntary Arts, the Good Things Collective and Eggcup are now able to provide a programme of creative activities and conversations around food, as part of their efforts to rebuild connections between people in the community.

Local people are in turn contributing art and recipes within the Eggcup food hub, before it’s all brought together in a magazine-style community cookbook for others to enjoy.

The activity is part of Voluntary Arts’ efforts to increase the recognition of arts and creativity as a way of bringing people together and reducing feelings of loneliness amidst lockdown restrictions.

Creating artwork at The Good Things Collective.

Voluntary Arts has recently awarded 11 charities across England, Scotland and Wales up to £2,000 each, including Morecambe-based charity, the Good Things Collective.

Jay Godden, from Eggcup said: “There’s always been a lot of poverty in this area.

“For many people, that can mean living hand to mouth in terms of wages.

“The slightest knock to what they get paid can make things much harder for them.

The Good Things Collective.

“In the past, we’ve been able to provide a space where you could come in, have a cup of tea, have a chat and then leave with a bag of food.

“That meant we were able to preserve more of a normal shopping experience, which did a lot to bring people together.”

Beki Melrose, from the Good Things Collective, said: “Ultimately, the commission from Voluntary Arts is giving us what we need to bring people together and combat loneliness.

“When Eggcup moved to a new space in Morecambe, we quickly had to make it safe because of COVID. But that meant that it was very nice and clean, but there was nothing on the walls; nothing to give our members a sense of connection to the hub and one another.

“We realised that all of that could be a space to create art for our members, which we could use as a tool to encourage them to start having conversations about food and with one another.

“The support from Voluntary Arts gave us the chance to turn those ideas into a tangible thing.

“For starters, we could pay some of the fantastic artists we’ve been working with. In turn, those artists have been able to create a series of art packs and recipe prompts.

“That’s allowing members to connect again through food and art. So now they’re taking their food away as before, but they’re then coming back to drop off something they’ve made; they’re sharing a recipe, or clipping something to the displays. Eventually, people will bring us their cross-stitches and then they’ll go up on the walls too.

“All of that does so much to brighten up the space and connect people with one another. They’re admiring pieces of art, and getting to say ‘my daughter did that’. Other times, they might be learning a new recipe. In time, we’ll also be able to create a cookbook, which we’ll be able to give to our members. That’ll be a particularly good channel of communication for those members who are maybe a little shy about speaking out in store or on the online groups.

“For us, it’s not just about what we can do this month while the project is running. Instead, it’s about creating a long-term legacy, where we have a community space that people feel properly involved in.”

You can find out more about Good Things C.I.C. via their website and by following their updates on social media @goodthingscic.

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