Psssst … Pass It On

Small Packages, Big Love:  A Firefly Arts Lockdown Project

Mairi was deep in YouTube and I was burying myself in work.  Everyone was facing challenges.  One of ours was the intensity of accessing home learning when your reading skills are limited.  It was impacting on family relationships, work commitments and everyone’s mood. We don’t consider ourselves to be ‘vulnerable’, or ‘hard to reach’, or in any way disadvantaged, but there were many new things to learn, negotiate and sometimes just let go of.  On this day, a small package arrived.  There had been other deliveries, but this one was addressed to Mairi. 

The team at Firefly Arts is exceptionally skilful and committed.  They enrich many young lives and address a wide range of needs in West Lothian.  Early on in lockdown they were interrogating how to survive as an organisation and how best to channel their resources to support their community.  They hit on an idea for a project that they hoped would nurture individuals in a safe and manageable way; Small Packages, Big Love was born.

Mairi’s day was transformed when her wee box of inspiration and comfort dropped through the letterbox. She engaged with her sisters to make hot chocolate.  We used knots to make a necklace with the rose crystal and the twine. (Two unrelated items in the small package of big love!)  We were gently bound together; making, creating and playing.

We were encouraged to think of ways to spread the love within the Firefly community and beyond. On the next sunny day we made muffins and invited her Auntie for a walk at Beecraigs.  Her Auntie has always been good at sharing so the love and the muffins were passed on as well!

I was full of gratitude and relief.  Gratitude that her friends and trusted adults were thinking about her, and relief that Firefly Arts is still active. (Funding cuts make survival a constant challenge.)

Connections and creativity have sustained a lot of people in these difficult times.  When the mental health of young people is described as being in crisis, it feels imperative to support Creative Art in our communities.  It is a vital thread in the fabric of our care for each other.

Sending BIG LOVE and thanks to Firefly Arts.

Ellie Stewart

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