Magical, joyful experiences for kinship families

19 October 2020

Two new team members join Starcatchers this month to develop Creative Kin, a three-year project bringing together artists and kinship families in North Ayrshire.

Anna Downie, Creative Kin’s Project Coordinator and Kirsty Pennycook, Early Years Artist will deliver weekly creative sessions for young children and their kinship families.

They’ll create magical, joyful and energising experiences with families through art and imaginative family play – a space where families can be creative together.

In partnership with Children 1st and North Ayrshire Council, it builds on Creative Kin 2017-19 which showed that this approach has a really positive impact on the relationships between kinship carers and the children they care for.

Linda Jardine, Director of Children and Family Services at Children 1st, said: “The kinship families we work alongside tell us that the Creative Kin Project has changed their lives – allowing them to build stronger and more resilient family relationships through the power of the creative arts.

“Children also tell us that they feel happier, safer and calmer after spending creative time with their family.

“It’s great to hear that Amy and Kirsty will be joining this important partnership with Starcatchers to bring more creativity and fun into kinship families’ lives.”

Anna has many years’ experience in community engagement and a passion for working in with very young children.

“All families have been through such a long period of isolation and this will be a lovely opportunity to be creative together and connect with others.

“In all of the community projects I’ve worked on the opportunity to be creative together is joyful and a wonderful bonding experience, both within families between children and carers, and also between the different families in the group. Some really strong friendships and communities are formed.”

Kirsty is a theatre maker with experience working in community settings and with children with additional support needs. “My practice is always grounded in social engagement. What’s wonderful about this project is the opportunity to work with the same children and families over a long period of time. We’ll create magical experiences together and see each other’s creative development.”

As well as weekly sessions, Creative Kin will deliver regular Family Days throughout the year that will involve the wider family including older siblings and birth families.

Creative Kin is funded until 2023 by The National Lottery Improving Lives, The RS Macdonald Charitable Trust, and Scottish Power Foundation.

After a delay in beginning the project due to Covid-19 Anna and Kirsty are now busy making preparations to meet families and begin sessions in the new year.