Karlyn Fergusson, Funding Officer at RIG Arts in Greenock, Inverclyde tells us how a 'Together Again' microgrant from Creative Lives helped them renovate their art studio to allow people back in after the Covid-19 lockdowns.

"RIG Arts is a multi-award winning socially engaged charity based in Inverclyde, that brings artists and the community together in a collaborative, creative way using art and film.

RIG’s objectives are to enhance lives and engage disadvantaged people through cultural activities The main aim and measure of RIG Arts’ success is the positive development of local people using creativity and innovation as tools that enable people from very different circumstances and abilities to explore and express themselves, building confidence, self-esteem and widening their outlook.

We knew that bringing people together again as we emerged from the pandemic was vital for communities to recover, rebuild and thrive! In direct response to the pandemic, RIG Arts took the opportunity to move to a larger unit within the historic Tobacco Warehouse in Greenock, to safely operate with strict social distancing measures in place. Making the move to a larger space in order to have the capacity to deliver physical participatory workshops was a necessary decision for RIG Arts to continue to achieve our objectives.

The ‘Together Again’ microgrant from Creative Lives enabled RIG Arts to make vital capital improvements to the space, to renovate the unit into a fit-for-purpose community arts studio. Specifically bespoke storage solutions to support workshop delivery were sought, including individual project boxes to keep materials separate and sanitised to mitigate the risk of cross-contamination between classes.

Creative Lives’ generous contribution has enabled our community studio to deliver various projects, events and exhibitions. Our services engage a wide range of participants including autistic young people, low-income families, the elderly, people with mental ill health, and disengaged youth. Creative Lives directly supported RIG to adapt and respond to unique challenges presented by the pandemic, and the investment continues to benefit our delivery to this day.

We believe everyone should have the opportunity to benefit from creativity and community and we are grateful for the support of Creative Lives, from grants to advice and information. It is fantastic to have someone championing the arts and all those working to increase access and support the sector. "