Creative hub in Walsall supports communities through 'Caring Christmas' initiative
On Wednesday 23rd December 2020, The People's Studio, based in Leicester Street, Walsall threw open its doors to homeless, disadvantaged and vulnerable across Walsall.
The People's Studio, a growing creative hub in the heart of Walsall town centre, is the brainchild of Andre-Donovan Reid, founding director of KIONDO, a black-led design research studio which connects organisations & local authorities with people, in order to co-create sustainable spaces, products and services which serve & uplift communities.
The project is made sustainable through an endless list of community champions who have made it their mission to help support and steer the project.
Their 'Caring Christmas' event, led by Bluuprint CIC, successfully delivered a ‘no questions asked’, supermarket-style, free food service combined with a COVID-secure Christmas grotto and arts workshop for younger guests to enjoy. In under 4 weeks of planning, organising and coordinating, the team were able to serve over 100+ households with free food parcels and essential items to those in need.
The event was supported by several local organisations, including Walsall for All, Pimentos Restaurant Bar & Grill, Walsall Black Sisters Collective, One Love Community Music & Arts, Ablewell Advice Walsall, Black Country Foodbank, New Testament Walsall, whg and many more.
Lisa Lucy Gakunga, one of the key organisers of the event explained: "We had to deliver a service that was warm and welcoming, whilst ensuring that our staff, our volunteers and our guests were kept COVID-19 safe.
"It was challenging at times, but we managed to pull the event off by ensuring that people observed social distancing, sanitised regularly and wore the appropriate face-masks when asked to do so."
A local resident who was involved said: “ The event really highlighted the desperate situation many people in Walsall have been in for years, and with the added pressure brought on by COVID, people are even more stressed. I want to thank The People*s Studio team who did an impeccable job putting on this event and making us all feel like we were a part of it”.
Andre-Donovan Reid, founding director of KIONDO added: "By coming together, we are able to go further than we would have if alone. It sounds cliche, but it's true. The People's Studio is an opportunity for us to all come together and own something that is for all of us and takes us even further”.
You can still donate any surplus food, funds, clothing or essential items, so that they can be redistributed to people in need by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also support KIONDO’s Transforming Walsall Fund by going to www.bit.ly/walsall-fund and follow the The People's Studio and KIONDO online via social media - @peoplesstudiowalsall and @buildakiondo