Fighting digital poverty: Creative care kits for kids in Salford

Young people in Salford are being given free activity packs in a new initiative led by the Lowry in the city.

The kits are full of activities which are split into three themes: Being in the World, Being Myself, and Being the Change. 

The scheme was created and funded by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) in the summer to give young people who didn’t have access to the internet something to do. They are available to all young people in Greater Manchester.

Jenny Riding, the Lowry’s Engagement Manager said about the kits: “The aim is to ensure that young people facing digital poverty, isolation, barriers to education or engagement have something positive that they can be part of and they can use creativity to help express themselves and amplify their voices.” 

The GMCA invited all arts centres in Greater Manchester to create their own activity for the new Autumn kits. The Lowry, Salford CVS and the Royal Exchange both contributed, and the Lowry is leading on the Salford distribution. 

The Lowry created their own packs near the beginning of lockdown which they have been distributing to vulnerable people around Salford, which they have been posting through people’s doors. 

The kits are aimed at people aged between 13 and 20 who may struggle with their mental health, a care leaver, not in employment or education, or are in digital poverty.

 

Lynsey O Sullivan is the Director of Learning and Engagement at the Lowry who says that the pandemic has hit young people in Salford hard.

She said: “Young people who probably weren’t classed as vulnerable before might be now.” 

She says there has been a reported increase in people suffering with mental health, self-harm and suicide attempts. 

Another big factor affecting young people during the pandemic is life chances. Lynsey said: “if a young person was planning to go into an apprenticeship or job, but can’t because that job doesn’t exist anymore, they become a NEET which then leads to a cycle of poor mental health.”

If you work with young people and would like some free packs then email GetCreative@TheLowry.com

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