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Sheffield is a city of young makers and creators with Bags of Creativity

A child drawing at a desk surrounded by art materials

A new partnership, led by IVE, the Arts Council Bridge Organisation for Yorkshire and the Humber, will deliver bags packed with creative activities and inspiring materials to 8000 vulnerable children and young people across Bradford, Doncaster, East Riding, Hull, Leeds, Rotherham, Sheffield and York this Summer.

In Sheffield, IVE and Create Sheffield (Sheffield’s Local Cultural Education Partnership) are working with Sheffield City Councils Children’s Services to distribute bags to vulnerable children via trusted adults, including social workers and foster carers. Alongside IVE and Create Sheffield, Sheffield City Councils Children’s Services and Sheffield Virtual School for Children Looked After were also able to provide funding so that 2004 children and young people will be able to access Bags of Creativity across the city.  The bags are designed to make sure the children and young people can be creative at home by providing everything they need in one place.

Bags of Creativity contain 20 specially designed activity postcards created for three separate age groups. For 2-6 year-olds, an orange bag contains vibrant chiffon scarves, a space blanket, and many other materials to enhance imaginative play. 7-11 year-olds will receive a bright green bag full of colouring pencils, pipe cleaners and further tactile materials for creative expression. 12-16 year-olds will receive a navy blue bag with contents including watercolour paints and modelling clay, giving them additional ways to explore their creativity. LazenbyBrown of York designed the Bags of Creativity free of charge.

As part of their City of Young Makers summer activities, Create Sheffield recruited a team of 19 brilliant local creative practitioners and cultural organisations to design the activities for Bags of Creativity. This team of creatives worked with child development specialists, Dr Karen Dunn and Di Chilvers, who delivered training and mentoring to ensure that activities are both tailored to the contents of the bags and engaging for children in each age range.

To reach 2004 children and young people in Sheffield with this brilliant initiative, Bags of Creativity has been a city-wide effort:

    • Museums Sheffield have offered their team and the space at the Millennium Galleries to support the packing of the bags.


    • 40 volunteers have been drawn from the Sheffield City Council Social Care team, Sheffield Hallam University students and the Create Sheffield team. Over two days, they will prepare and pack the bags in socially distanced production lines.


    • These 2004 bags will then be delivered to the Social Care team at Moorfoot by Museums Sheffield staff, before being taken out to children in their homes by social workers.

Create Sheffield will be sharing the work of the 19 Sheffield-based artists and companies involved creating the activities for the Bags of Creativity on their website, so that more children, young people and families are able to get involved and engage with arts, culture and heritage activities and opportunities as part of their Create Sheffield City of Young Makers summer activities.  In addition, you will be able to access all postcard activities from across the region on the IVE website.

Ian Naylor, Chair of Create Sheffield, said: “We’re thrilled with the response to Bags of Creativity from creative practitioners and organisations in our area. We’re very happy to be working in partnership with social services this summer to ensure that these resources reach the children who need them most.”

Councillor Jackie Drayton, Cabinet Member for Children and Families said: “The 2000 Bags of Creativity initiative is a fantastic idea to help keep children and their families entertained this summer.

Many thanks to our staff in children’s services, IVE, Create Sheffield and all the volunteers who helped to deliver these bags and provided entertainment and fun for so many.

I hope that all children and young people, as well as their families and carers, are able to spend quality time together and cherish the wonderful joy of life."

Dr Karen Dunn, Head of Academic Development in Education, Childhood and Inclusion at Sheffield Institute of Education, Sheffield Hallam University said: “It’s been great to be involved in this amazing project, and fascinating working with such talented artists across the region to pool ideas on what might appeal to children and young people.

This project is a real example of arts and cultural organisations working alongside education, social care and voluntary sector groups to include some of Sheffield's most disadvantaged children and young people in the life affirming practice of being creative.

Thanks to our SIoE Hallam students for volunteering for two days-worth of packing the bags!”