People United describes itself as a 'creative laboratory'. “We’re interested in how arts and creativity can inspire us to care for each other,” says Tom, Chief Executive. National Lottery funding is helping Tom and his team to explore this idea through a series of community projects and research with the University of Kent.Based in Canterbury, People United has worked with schools, businesses, local organisations and voluntary groups, to develop projects that bring the community together.
The ‘We all do good things’ project saw more than 1,800 schoolchildren take part in a range of arts workshops (from theatre and photography to South African dance) as well as devising their own activities such as making kindness badges and get-well-soon cards, interviewing residents of the local care home and making smoothies for the local emergency services. Surveys showed that children were much more willing to care and share in the community and less likely to feel prejudice towards other groups, once they had taken part in the project activities.One of the most successful People United projects worked across the whole town of Herne Bay celebrating kindness in 2010.
One aspect involved developing a Giant Picnic where more than 1,000 people gathered from different communities to dance to live music, take part in arts and sporting activities and build a sense of community in one place. The company has been working with the University of Kent to produce a paper called 'Arts and Kindness' to investigate why and how people help each other. It is available free to download from websites
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