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Past Community Projects

Past Community Projects

Resident Voice 2017 

North Yorkshire County Council commissioned Rural Arts to provide a programme of arts and activities for the 18 extra care housing schemes across North Yorkshire between January and July 2017. The project aimed to improve emotional wellbeing and combat isolation and loneliness through arts activities that promote socialising and self-expression.


Innovation 2017

Our pilot project worked in partnership with Age UK and research staff from Leeds Beckett University. The project aimed to collect and analyse evidence of the impact that participatory arts activities had on the well being of a group of older adults who attended a weekly session at Kirk House day care centre in Northallerton. By using electro-dermal activity tracking wristbands we were able to measure participants’ responses to arts based activities delivered over a 6-month period.

The wristbands were worn by 5 people chosen randomly from a group of 30 and directly measured emotional responses, which were interpreted via observation and post-activity discussion. The results helped to identify and guide development of arts activities which provide the greatest benefit, and enhance the social well being of older adults, creating a valuable community resource.

Stitched Together 2016/17

Stitched Together was a two-year textiles project funded by Arts Council England, North Yorkshire County Council’s - Stronger Communities and Community Covenant. We worked in partnership with the Army Welfare Service supporting four local military groups at Catterick Garrison, Dishforth and Topcliffe. The project employed two textile artists to work with the groups. The lead artist was Dionne Swift and textile artist Carolann Allan joined the project in 2017.

The key aims of the project were to give the participants transferable skills and increase their confidence, self-esteem and links to the local community.

Stitched Together Website

Stitched Together Facebook Page


Innovation 2015/2016

 The Innovation project addressed reducing loneliness and Social Isolation within the older generation living in North Yorkshire

The project delivered 36 creative and technical workshops, exhibitions and peformances specifically designed for elderly people. These were designed to stimulate social intergration between the participants and the local community and help reduce levels of loneliness and the pressure put on healthcare and support services. 

The project encouraged the elderly population to learn digital skills in the use of iPad’s and their apps but most importantly improved their self esteem and motivation levels by learning new skills and being part of a social group. In response to the needs, abilities and interests voiced by each group a programme was set up of workshops that explored apps based on creating books, animations, painting, garden design and quilt making. As part of the programme professional theatrical peformances were introduced to the groups which acted as a great way of engaging people with the programme and raising the spirits of the individuals. We found this series of arts and technology workshops a very successful way of addressing issues of mental and social isolation and were able to help people suffering from dementia, to improve their health and wellbeing to find new ways of self expression. 

Sowerby Arts 2015

Sowerby Gateway is a new mixed development being built near Thirsk. It includes; housing, a new school, a neighborhood center, leisure, retail and commercial premises. Chrysalis Arts are working with Mulberry Homes to deliver a public art programme. The art project has the support of Hambleton District Council and Arts Council England. As part of the project Rural Arts has run a Community Programme with opportunities for local groups and schools to participate in workshops led by artists; Andrew Dalton, Helaina Sharpley, Stef Mitchel.

Within this project we have ran workshops with Thirsk Community Woodlands Trust, Thirsk School, Sowerby Primary School, All Saints RC Primary School, Hambleton Strollers, Thirsk Community Care, Thirsk Library, Sowerby House, St Oswalds Church, East Thirsk Parents and Toddlers Group, Thirsk TIC and for individual members of the public.

Thirsk Military Digital Age 2015

This Heritage Lottery Funded Project for young people recalled the wartime experiences of local older people, through investigation of objects places, photographs, documents and stories relating to the area.

The focus was to inspire the young people from both military and civilian families to engage with their local military heritage in order to reinterpret and retell these stories through the eyes of a younger generation.

 Magna Carta 2015

Project ran for three months, culminating in events leading up to the Magna Carta Anniversary Celebration at Thirsk Racecourse on Saturday 13th June 2015. The project was fundamental to all aspects of our outreach work in the summer term and engaged a wide variety of community groups as well as local people, newcomers, and tourists. The project included a Magna Carta Heritage Exhibition, Thirsk Town Shop Window Displays and Community Banner Making and Arts Workshops.

Community Learning 2015/16

Our Community Learning project that was funded by NYCC has enabled us to deliver a 12-hour creative learning programme across North Yorkshire called “A Taste of Arts”. We have provided learners access to professional artist engagement in enjoyable, relaxing and therapeutic environments, which have inspired the participants to explore new creative mediums. The project has helped more than 80 learners across the country, including older people and those suffering with dementia, those using mental health services, people who are recently bereaved and vulnerable and those who find themselves rurally isolated. These workshops have successfully addressed core vulnerabilities such as anxiety and low confidence.

150 creative workshops exploring ceramics, textiles, printmaking, felting, paper cutting, mosaics, sculpture and the photographic process have produced more than 1500 quality handmade products including lampshades, fabric prints, ceramic T light holders, trinket boxes, ceramic dishes, felted animals, willow hearts and fish, printed pictures and cards, mosaic tiles and embroidered cushions. There was a positive engagement in all of the 16 groups in areas ranging from Aiskably, Middleton and urban parts of Harrogate.


For more information about our work in the community, or if you would like us to organise a workshop for you, please contact Jayne Rawlins, Telephone 01845 526356; e-mail

We will be able to tell you if you are eligible for free workshops.