Today I went to Chase Leisure Centre to meet Lisa Shephard and Kerrie Jones, of the Arts, Health and Well Being team. which is managed by Wigan Leisure Culture Trust. Two enthusiastic ladies who are passionate about using the arts to increase the health and well being of the people of the Cannock Chase District.
Communities within Cannock are still very much based around the traditional but now defunct mining areas. Each had their own pit, their brass band and their identity and people are still reluctant to travel from one area of Cannock to another. New manufacturing industries have not replaced the pits; traditional manual work is in short supply with new industries being based in the service sector. We discussed the possibility of doing an arts and well-being project in the Blake area of Cannock to help build capacity within this community. This is an area Cannock with a lack of literacy skills and academic aspiration and a high incidence of alcohol and substance misuse. Work has been done here previously by the Cannock team; it has been thoroughly consulted and connections are in place which would enable Lichfield Mysteries to do projects in this area. They are currently compiling a Reaching Communities funding bid for a three year programme of work in Blake and other areas of Cannock Chase District.
It was lovely to meet such committed and enthusiastic people who care so much for the communities in which they live and work. I am looking forward to further discussions and planning some exciting community arts projects with them.