A Hastings arts organisation will look to bring the local community together this Coronation weekend with a celebratory lunch, supported by The National Lottery.
Arts on Prescription CIC is a not-for-profit organisation based in Alexandra Park, providing creative activities, reminiscence and confidence building workshops designed to enhance mental health, wellbeing and promote social engagement.
For months, organisations have been applying for National Lottery funding to help celebrate and mark the Coronation of His Majesty the King and Her Majesty the Queen Consort.
Encompassing areas of the environment, arts, education, community, heritage and sport, National Lottery funding is being used to deliver a weekend of extraordinary events or projects which will have a lasting positive impact in their communities beyond the Coronation.
From Coronation Big Lunches and street parties, which bring people together – delivering culture, art, and music festivals – to supporting projects that provide new opportunities for diverse younger people to engage with heritage or sport, there is truly something for everyone.
The Coronation Big Lunch on May 7 – supported by The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK – will encourage communities to come together, celebrate their connections and get to know each other better.
There have been well over one million Big Lunch events since they started in 2009 and millions of people across the country are expected to get involved and join in the Coronation celebrations.
Arts on Prescription founding director Tara Reddy is arranging the Coronation Big Lunch after a hugely successful Platinum Jubilee celebration last year.
She said: “This past year the Platinum Jubilee Fund have funded us to try and engage the community in well-being, promote Alexandra Park and celebrate 70 years of the Queen’s reign.
“For that we gave back to the community by doing lots of community picnic events, offering free workshops and collecting memories and data about the park so that everybody could collaborate to make a final design for a mural that will go on the back of the building. That was an entire year of picnics and community engagement events.
“This Coronation weekend we are having a day where we are making garments and crowns and we are going to have a photo booth. We are encouraging people to invite others to a big lunch where we are going to bring a picnic down and we will have music playing.”
Funding from The National Lottery has proven vital for Arts on Prescription, helping to boost their impact not only through the Platinum Jubilee and Coronation but for an elongated period.
And one key benefit being a new base for the organisation, turning a previously unused building into a new community hub.
“Without the funding, we would not have been able to put on all the free activities and that secure funding has allowed us to employ different artists,” said Reddy.
“We have got a high area of need in Hastings, so we have managed to employ lots of freelance artists to come in and share their skills and from that we have also managed to engage people to become volunteers for us.
“By being able to put on all these events, in one way it has been amazing because we took over a disused building that used to be a bowling green.
“It was left empty for four or five years, but since we have taken it on and hosted all these events, people have said that it is amazing.
“We have got families and older people coming in, it is a much more communal space for people, and it has given us that sort of steppingstone we need to apply for more funding so that hopefully we can continue it and sustain it.”
National Lottery players raise more than £30 million a week for arts, education, environment, health, heritage, sport, and voluntary projects across the UK; see the difference it’s making near you at www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk