Powell-Cotton Museum Secures £56,620 funding for Sunshine Project

Garden at Quex

The Powell-Cotton Museum at Quex Park has been granted £56,960 from the AIM Connected Communities Grant. The substantial funding will be used for the Sunshine Project which is creating volunteering opportunities, community engagement, and social connectivity, with a specific focus on individuals with learning disabilities and/or mental health challenges.

The AIM Connected Communities Grant, funded by the DCMS Know Your Neighbourhood Fund through Arts Council England, will be instrumental in propelling the Sunshine Project forward. The project is dedicated to enhancing the lives of young people and adults with specific needs by promoting inclusivity and community engagement within Quex gardens.

The funding will be allocated to several key aspects of the Sunshine Project:

  • Employment of a Community Engagement Officer: The grant will enable the appointment of a dedicated Community Engagement Officer for a one-year term, ensuring that participants receive the necessary support and guidance to maximize their experience.
  • Strengthening Beneficiary Relationships: The project will build upon existing relationships with beneficiaries, such as KCC adult social services and Terrance House, creating a supportive and nurturing environment for those with learning disabilities and/or mental health conditions.
  • Artist-Led Workshops: A new programme of artist-led workshops will provide participants with creative outlets and opportunities for self-expression and personal growth, with works to be displayed within the gardens.
  • Engagement with Thrive Social and Therapeutic Horticulture: The project will collaborate with Thrive to offer social and therapeutic horticultural activities, promoting overall well-being.
  • The Know Your Neighbourhood Fund is an initiative aimed at reducing the risk of loneliness and increasing levels of social connections within communities.
Photo Christine Tongue

Sue Harris, Head Gardener at Powell-Cotton Museum, said: “This grant is a game-changer for the Sunshine Project. It aligns perfectly with our mission of inclusivity and community engagement and will allow us to make a profound impact on the lives of individuals with specific needs in our community.

“We feel this grant recognises the amazing work we have already been doing to help vulnerable people, at risk of social isolation, learn and take part in gardening activities on a 1-2-1 basis.  The Connected Communities Grant is a timely opportunity to scale up our offer and improve our practice through its coaching and mentoring programme.

“We are excited to embark on this journey with the support of AIM, Arts Council England, and the DCMS Know Your Neighbourhood Fund.”

The gardens at Quex

Expected outcomes of the Sunshine Project:

Improved Accessibility to Volunteering Opportunities: The project will create a welcoming environment that caters to diverse needs, ensuring that volunteering opportunities are accessible to all.

Strengthened Organisational Relationships: The Powell-Cotton Museum will forge stronger ties with local institutions and other partners engaged in similar work

Reduced Risk of Loneliness: By offering engaging programmes and support, the Sunshine Project will contribute to reduced loneliness among its participants.

Increased Levels of Social Connections: The project will promote social interactions, fostering a sense of belonging and connectedness within the community.

AIM is a dedicated advocate for independent museums and heritage organizations and continues to be a vital source of support for the preservation and advancement of cultural institutions.

For further information on the Powell-Cotton Museum and the Sunshine Project, visit www.powell-cottonmuseum.org