We know that creative expression in all its forms is a fundamental part of being human, but that individuals and communities need opportunities and support for creativity to flourish.

Creative Lives works with communities, organisations, policy-makers, funders and creative individuals as a voice for positive change, to improve and expand the landscape in which creative participation can take place. We work to address inequalities in access to creative participation, promote inclusivity, connect people and communities, and seek to increase awareness of the links between creativity and wellbeing.

To celebrate the Month of Community this June, we've gathered a selection of inspiring stories, useful resources and exciting opportunities to get involved and connected with your local community. 

Volunteers Week 1 - 7 June 

A time to say thanks! Volunteers' Week is an annual celebration of the contribution millions of people make across the UK through volunteering. 

Learn more!

Opportunities available via Volunteer Now

There’s a big splash at the beginning of June with The Big Lunch (and Big Jubilee Lunch), Neighbourhood Watch Week and Volunteers Week, but the fun continues throughout the Month of Community as we get together to share friendship, have fun and support a variety of charities and causes.

Learn more!

Creative Lives' top picks:

  • Creative Community Champions is an online peer support network for people who lead, organise and host participatory creative cultural activities that take place regularly in social groups in England. Learn how to get involved!

  • Creativity Map - a great tool to find what creative group / organisation / venue you can join in your local area. You can also add your own group to the listing and help people in your community find out about what you do. Browse our interactive map.

  • Community Media - discover how to use community media tools to promote the activities undertaken by your creative community group. Read here.

  • How to set up a community cinema - Want to 'grow your own cinema' at a venue in your local area? It's easier than you might think and could make a real difference to your community. 

Before you start, there are a number of things to consider, so download our handy Information Pack on taking those first steps. Watch our short video to get inspired by people who grew a cinema in their local area - and then visit the sections below to find out how to sow the seeds... Learn more!

  • Inspiring stories: Community ownership in Norfolk, Brighton and Lancashire. 

The rise of community pubs is slowing a long-term decline – and offering additional services like post offices and basic banking. Discover the story of the Blue Bell in Stoke Ferry (Norfolk), The Bevy in Brighton and the Trawden Arms in Lancashire. Read more via The Guardian.

  • Community shares - How can you make them work for you? Find out from Morven Campbell, Programme Officer at Community Shares Scotland, in his interview available here. We also recommend you browse our listing of the latest funding calls for community groups based in the UK and Ireland on our Funding Opportunities page here.

  • Community connections predict wellbeing as we age

New evidence from the COVID-19 pandemic highlights how stronger local connections are linked to better wellbeing, particularly as we age. Gianfranco Addario from NatCen explains in a blog article how exploring patterns of community connection can help us understand links between inequality, wellbeing and quality of life. Read the full blog on Ageing Better's website.

Common Ground: Rewilding the Garden

  • Common Ground: Rewilding the Garden report & panel discussion

Common Ground - Rewilding the Garden is a new report from Creative Lives based on an ambitious programme of work investigating how creative activity is supported in areas of socio-economic deprivation across the UK and Republic of Ireland. The report shows this activity to be thriving in many areas that are regularly overlooked by the cultural sector, but this grassroots activity is in need of significant support and recognition.

Learn more!

  • Creatively Minded

We all know how important mental health and wellbeing is for the individuals and communities alike. The Baring Foundation's Directory (updated on 30 May 2022) is a useful tool to identify organisations working in the field of arts and mental health in the UK as part of research conducted for our Arts and Mental Health funding programme. Check which of the 320 organisations listed is active in your local community. Download the list here.

[Banner picture: Local Vocals dementia-friendly choir; Credit: Alison Gildea]