Our new project from the arts&elders programme, Meet Me at the Maltings is halfway through it’s first monthly project and after a small start, the group is growing week on week. The Programme co-ordinator, Kath Boddy has written an update on how the project is going so far and how it has been tweaked slightly to make it slightly more welcoming for those who wish to give it a try before committing to the monthly projects.
Over the past few years Farnham Maltings has become involved in exploring ways of ensuring that the town is a healthy and vibrant community and that we connect with as many groups and individuals as possible. Sometimes this has meant targeting energy and resources to particular places. We have needed to build trust and the partnerships that ensure people feel safe and welcomed. Which takes time and trust. New ambitions also require us to communicate differently – there are still people in the town who are surprised that we regularly show cinema even though we have done it for 25 years….
So when we decided to launch a new initiative for the over 65s, Meet Me at the Maltings, we promoted it to everyone we knew; to other local service providers, health professionals, networking groups, the media, friends and family. We have offered the first session for free, including lunch, materials and three hours of tuition in crafts and singing. And slowly people are starting to come. We’ve been learning quickly and adapting the programme accordingly. We’ve reduced the hearty lunch to a soup and a sandwich and introduced a ￡10 option for those who would prefer to pay that. You no longer need to make a block booking, but can drop in as and when you like. The first session for everyone is free of charge – and still includes free lunch, materials and tuition.
It has been a joy to be part of such an optimistic and brave hearted, gentle gem of a team of volunteers, artists and staff. We are enjoying being part of one of the most genuine grassroots projects I’ve known. Thank you all so far, to the team and the participants – we all look forward to welcoming more people every Thursday to our Meet Me at the Maltings.
As they say, from small acorns .. mighty oak trees grow.
Next month, the weekly sessions will focus on words, where the group work with resident theatre company Pursued by a Bear to develop poetry and theatre scenes inspired by your own experiences. If you or perhaps a friend or relative would be interested in joining in, just come along any Thursday and meet the group for your free taster. More information on the monthly projects can be found on the arts&elders event page.