Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

We’ve had a fantastic 2016 here at Suffolk Artlink, and hope you have too. Here’s the last of our news for this year, before the office closes next Wednesday for a festive break. We’ll be back raring to go on Wednesday 4th January!

We welcome a new team member

All we wanted for Christmas was a new Communications and Development Manager, so we are delighted to bring you season’s greetings from our newest recruit, Rachael Murray.  We asked her to tell you a little about herself, so why not visit our website if you’d like to know more?

JumpstART !

A couple of weeks ago the students worked with Lewis the filmmaker setting up animation and green screen shots with lots of dressing up and acting. This was followed by a session to record their songs during which Tim, the audio engineer, set up a ‘studio’ and we spent a lot of time recording and re-recording to get things just right.  I think we all lost our voices by the end!

To celebrate the completion of this module, we’re putting on screenings and live performances of the work we made together – we’d love to see you there!

2pm Wednesday 14th December – Red Rose Chain, Gippeswyk Hall, Gippeswyk Avenue, Ipswich, IP2 9AF

2pm Thursday 15th December – The Bethel, Battery Green, Lowestoft, NR32 1DL

Talking Care

We are excited to share the Talking Care film and booklet which we have created in partnership with Suffolk County Council this year. These new resources tell the stories of carers living in Suffolk and offer, advice, guidance and support for new carers. You can see the film and booklet here.

Rock Up

It’s been an incredibly busy term at Rock Up. The young people have been interviewed for the Suffolk Community Foundation ‘Shine a Light’ initiative, several of them have started their Bronze Arts Awards and others have taken part in an open mic gig at Sam’s Café.

Following on from the success of the gig at Sam’s Café, we are planning to run a DJ session in the café in early 2017; we’re also hoping to recruit three more young people on to doing their Arts Awards and next term we hope to bring some of the young performers back to the Cut, to perform their own composition as part of the Waveney Amplifier Gig.

Thanks to photographer Simon Lee, for sharing the photograph with us.

Avenues Project

This month, we’ve been working with Suffolk Family Carers to give young adult family carers a chance to work with a wide choice of brilliant regional artists. We have selected an eclectic mix of artists in the Eastern region, combining many different facets of creativity. The carers have been voting on the artists that they would like to work with and we are now in the process of organising their first social event in January.

Each social event will bring together two professional artists and a group of young adult family carers to share skills and explore new exciting ideas, whilst offering a platform to meet new people.

St Nicholas Hospice Writing Group

Over five years ago Suffolk Artlink helped to set up a writing group at St Nicholas Hospice in Bury St Edmunds. The group has since been running independently, providing support and a much needed creative outlet for patients, family and friends who use the hospice. The group have just produced their fourth booklet to celebrate their writing, which includes pieces from all group members with a variety of writing styles and genres. Group members wrote:

‘My life changed when I decided to join the writing class… Reading the 2015 booklet, feelings overwhelmed me, joy, happiness, tears seeing my work. Hard to believe what I had achieved’.

‘This group has a positive influence on my whole week. The sense of fun, laughter, friendship and openness is very special. In the space of a few hours we can have laughed and cried, but yet I still come away uplifted. Pain and sadness are palpable at times but so is hope and optimism. We all share a common thread that holds us together. We share our words and listen to one another with respect and empathy’.

Clown Round

Christmas isn’t far away and the Clown Doctors have been getting in the spirit, helping both EACH Quidenham and Treehouse Hospices celebrate at their Christmas parties.

Dr Guitarrr and Dr Dizzy had a wonderful time at Norfolk Show ground last weekend, working with Quidenham Hospice. Amazing festive decorations and masses of party hats and balloons had the Clown Doctors feeling right at home! Dr Guitarrr and Dr Dizzy shared the delights of Clown Doctor Tennis with everyone, batting balloons between as many people as possible, using giant fly swats, ukuleles and Christmas crackers as the rackets. Lots of smiles, dancing and silliness was had by all.

The Clown Doctors have only got a few more sessions before the big guy sets off in his sleigh, so keep your eyes peeled for their red noses on the hospital wards near you.

We have been extremely lucky this month to have received a generous sum from Chris Hart, his friends and family, who marked his birthday with donations to the Clown Round Project in place of presents!

Creative Company  

Creative Company training took place in Hadleigh this month, at which we packed in a tremendous amount of useful information and activities to help volunteers who will continue to run the visual arts sessions. Thanks to our artist Sara Harrington who led the training, attendees all agreed that they’d had the chance to try out some basic techniques, had learnt something new and were more aware of resources available to support creative activities. One commented: “[This has been] a really good session, lots of useful ideas to create interactive sessions.”

Our programme of artist sessions in Hadleigh is now complete and we are delighted to announce that as a result, Together Tuesday will be launching their new Together Tuesday Carers Group, on 31st January 2017. For more details, please visit Suffolk Family Carers events calendar at

Suffolk at Play – the final chapter

On 29th November 2013, we delivered the first Suffolk at Play session at Howard Middle School in Bury St Edmunds.

On 29th November, 2016, we delivered the final session at Britten Court Care Home in Lowestoft – three years to the day since we started.

And it’s been a brilliant three years – we’ve worked directly with 208 participants, with a further 99 individuals benefiting from the project. Thousands of people across the county have seen the Suffolk at Play Cube and it will continue to be exhibited at the Museum of East Anglian Life.

Amongst the lasting legacies of this project are a brand new Childhood Play Handling Box, now part of the loan resources at the Museum and the animations and booklets, which have been lodged with the County Archive Service.

But it will be the stories, the memories, the songs and games that we’ll remember most. From homemade fireworks in a bomb site to collecting bees and honeysuckle in a jam jar, it’s been such fun learning all about Suffolk at Play.

Our Place

We headed to The Partnership in Care’s Risby Park and Hall as they transformed their gardens into a Winter Wonderland. We’re spending time getting to know the organisation and their residents ahead of an exciting new project we have planned with them for 2017.  Everyone had a wonderful time enjoying Christmas carols, ice skating, snow and reindeer, and we are looking forward to seeing what 2017 brings working in partnership with this brilliant organisation.

Creative Employment Programme