Creative First Aid relief for disaster affected communities

Central Coast Council

How MakeShift made a difference to the community connections and recovery of people impacted by fires, floods and a pandemic.

"Today, it's the first time I remember laughing in so long. It's like drawing breath"

- Margaret, Mangrove Mountain Resident

Many areas of regional New South Wales and Victoria experienced intense challenges throughout 2020-2022. Bushfires tore through many communities in 2020 and again in 2021, and then came floods. In amongst this time was the pandemic, which cut people off from each other at a time when they needed each other more than ever.

MakeShift was engaged in two parts of regional NSW - Eurobodalla Shire, the far south coast of New South Wales, and Central Coast, a coastal and also mountainous range of valleys and villages. Our engagement was to design and deliver a series of workshops and experiences for residents to come together in a way that brought connection, but also a sense of healing and empowerment.

Margie with her clay bowls she created at one of the Central Coast workshops

Working with ceramist Peach, we put clay - literally ash, and dirt, into the hands of residents for them to create a community hanging sculpture.

We brought artist Julie Paterson along, who led us on a mindful bush walk to each create an ephemeral 'sculpture' on the ground, reflecting thoughts, feelings and connections to the land and place.

We gifted a whole community of residents each a Creative First Aid Kit, along with some tools for how to play, connect with their own creativity, and with each other. We know that a community in crisis survives when there is trust and connection.

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Central Coast Council
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