Gorton Visual Arts (GVA) is a community-focused grassroots arts group with a strong track record of delivering high quality creative opportunities for vulnerable people, isolated older people, and people with learning difficulties.
They have been in operation for over 17 years, they have experience of delivering projects, they’re very well known in the area and have been supported by We Love MCR Charity before: once through our Stronger Communities Fund, and also by our Covid-19 Community Response Fund.
Their projects come from constantly talking to local people, with the aim of bringing the community together to discuss a variety of different subjects connected to the area of Gorton. GVA’s work consistently challenges, stimulates, inspires and motivates participants and the whole community, creating links between the generations and different groups within the Gorton community which, in turn, promotes cohesion and social inclusion.
Some feedback from GVA’s lockdown project, funded by We Love MCR Charity, illustrates what the group achieves with their unique approach:
“The GVA art projects have been a lifesaver for me during this long lockdown period. The projects are geared to access your feelings about what’s happening and demonstrating it in art form. Knowing that other people are sharing these projects with you creates a feeling of community. It is encouraging and interesting to view people’s different interpretations of the same subject. As I have been shielding for twelve months it has given me an interest and motivation to explore my surroundings.”
Gorton, like many areas in Manchester, is a low-income area and is in particular characterised by a significant elderly population. Social isolation is widespread, negatively impacting the residents' health and well-being. Gorton ranks among the top 10% of the most deprived areas in the UK, with high levels of deprivation related to health, disability, crime, unemployment, and poverty.
They successfully applied to our Stronger Communities Fund again in June 2023, with us awarding them £4,000 to deliver a 5-month arts project called ‘Everything, to write home about’ to older people in Gorton! The funds will cover costs for artists, materials and the studios being used.
GVA tell us that all their activities increase the wellbeing and self-esteem of their participants, and they say this project will go one step further, encouraging participants to express their own experiences of isolation, loneliness and share them with the wider community.
The proposed project start date is 20th July 2023 and planning to end in late November 2023. GVA expect approximately 42 people from the Gorton, Abbey Hey and Levenshulme areas will join their workshops and experience different artistic methods including drawing, painting, mosaic, printing techniques and textiles.
The project workshops will be delivered by two freelance professional artists, experienced volunteers, and the group members themselves, sharing their skills and training with others. As always with GVA, the group members will have control and develop the sessions themselves, whilst working closely with the professional artists.
We look forward to providing updates on the ‘Everything, to write home about’ project as it progresses!