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Coronavirus: Hope Box art project success sees Dundee scheme extend reach across Tayside and Fife

Rowantree Primary School sisters Kacia (10) and Kaiya Thompson (11).
Rowantree Primary School sisters Kacia (10) and Kaiya Thompson (11).

A charity delivering arts and crafts boxes to those struggling with isolation across Tayside has seen demand rise.

The Front Lounge organisation had ordered enough materials to fill 15 Hope Boxes but has now sent out almost 250 in the initiative’s expansion beyond the city and into Perthshire, Angus and Fife.

Sisters Kacia and Kaiya Thompson.

The charity has said demand is growing for the boxes, which are packed with art materials.

An array of work has been created and will be revealed in the project’s first online show to be launched later this week.

Hope Box was created by Front Lounge project leader Chika Inatimi in conjunction with Jacqueline Goodall, a final year art student at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design and the scheme’s lead artist.

Jacqueline said: “The response has been overwhelming and beyond what I ever imagined.

Hope Box demand has rocketed.

“The artwork we have collected back has been imaginative, creative and unique, spreading hope and joy for everyone.

“People are trying new things, using materials that are taking them out of their comfort zone and being expressive.

“For some, it has been years since they last created a piece of art while, for others, this is a completely new experience.

“It has also been wonderful seeing some families come together.”

Funding from Comic Relief and Proactive Grants, the DC Thomson Charitable Trust and the Response, Recovery and Resilience Fund distributed by Foundation Scotland has allowed the Hope Box expansion beyond Dundee.

Rowantree PS brothers Nathan (9), Rhys (8) and Joshua (11) Armstrong.

A variety of community groups have requested boxes to provide activities for the people they support, including mental health charity Reach Across in Arbroath, Autism Initiatives in Bridge of Earn, Tayside Council on Alcohol, The Attic and The Ormiston, Inveresk and Salton Residents Association, all based in Dundee.

Around 50 boxes have been given to the hub at Rowantree Primary School in Dundee.

Before the Covid-19 lockdown set in, Front Lounge had intended to run monthly Hope Hub events across Scotland, providing a safe place for people affected by mental health challenges.

The first online exhibition showcasing the work will take place on Saturday with details available on the www.hopehub.scot website.

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