Birmingham-based Sampad South Asian Arts & Heritage has been awarded nearly £40,000 worth of funding for a vital community project in one of the city’s most deprived neighbourhoods.

The Baring Foundation awarded the money to the arts organisation to help them continue to develop creative initiatives to aid vulnerable women in north-east Birmingham.

Since 2017, Sampad have been working with Dolphin Women’s Centre (DWC) in Washwood Heath to co-design the community engagement project Create and Change.

Attended by local women and families Create and Change uses a variety of art forms from spoken word, photography to craft making, through a programme of workshops designed to increase wellbeing and reduce isolation.

The £39,980 grant over two years will help Sampad to continue their ongoing partnership with DWC an organisation that provides a safe place where women can come together, learn skills, and make new friends.

Sabra Khan is Executive Director of Sampad artsSampad
Sabra Khan is Executive Director of Sampad South Asian Arts & Heritage

Sabra Khan, Sampad’s Executive Director said, “Sampad has long believed in using the arts to support wellbeing. At a time when there is a greater need to take care of our physical and mental health, we thank The Baring Foundation for this grant.

“This funding will enable us to continue to work with our participants and embed long term arts activity through our partnership with DWC in Washwood Heath, an area listed in the 10% most deprived neighbourhoods nationally.”

David Cutler, Director of The Baring Foundation – an independent organisation which protects and advances human rights and promotes inclusion – said the grant would contribute a key area encouraging social change:

“We are delighted to be supporting Sampad’s continued work with the Dolphin Women’s Centre. Projects often have to close through lack of funding just as participants are getting the most benefit, so we are especially pleased to be able to offer this support.”

Create and Change encourages participants to share their stories and experiences with a strong focus on wellbeingSampad
Create and Change encourages participants to share their stories and experiences with a strong focus on wellbeing

Maxine Mills, Project Manager at the Dolphin Women’s Centre, said: “Our service users have taken part enthusiastically in Sampad’s programme since 2017.

“The arts workshops and activity have been designed to connect the local community, primarily of South Asian background, to South Asian arts and culture and to help us to further open up conversations around mental health and wellbeing.

“These activities may often be the only arts activities that they participate in. We are really excited about this next phase of the project and to having an artist based in our Centre and working with them to design and deliver arts workshops and activities for our Centre users.”

Due to COVID-19 the project was moved online in autumn last year and delivered by way of weekly video sessions, including Bollywood Dance workshops and Embroidery for Wellbeing classes.

The next phase of the project begins this September with the involvement of an artist resident at the centre co-designing workshops and projects with local communities to help support participants reintegrate in-person activity when they feel comfortable and safe to do so.

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