Connecting Communities Through Creativity: The Acorn Project

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The Jersey Employment Trust is a charity that has been supporting people with disabilities and long-term health conditions to gain employment and develop their skills for the last 20 years. Its social enterprise, Acorn in Trinity, offers those they support with work and training opportunities. 

Last year they took Acorn, and 18 of their clients, on the road (strictly speaking down the road!) and piloted a six-week project collaborating with the Harbour Gallery who are based in Commercial buildings, to offer wellbeing art sessions in the community. 

Their aim was to link people who have an interest in learning creative skills together and teach them a variety of art skills such as painting, stencilling, decoupage, design embellishing and much more.  

The end result was to create an amazing tree out of recycled materials which is now on display at the Acorn cafe in Trinity for the community to see, aptly named the Communi-tree. Each of the ‘leaves’ features a hand made by one of the participants, each telling a story. A great deal of reused items were included in the making of the work, something which is particularly important to all of those at Acorn. 

The team has already seen incredible results from their projects helping participants build confidence, and self-esteem, combat loneliness, and give people a focus in their day and a routine in their week, and they often see their clients building new friendships who they’ll meet outside of Acorn. 

The project saw a number of fantastic outcomes, not only did it offer Acorn clients a new location to work from but it also allowed them to work with others in the community who shared their love for all things creative. It has also led to a number of clients continuing to develop their newfound skills, pushing them further with the art they’re producing. 

The Communi-tree project was made possible thanks to a grant awarded by The Connect Me: Connecting our Communities Grant Scheme. The funding received enabled the team at Acorn to purchase the resources needed to get them started and was a much-needed boost to getting the project off the ground. It also helped to fund tutors to teach techniques to participants. 

It’s Acorn’s hope that this mini-acorn will be the first of many and they’ll continue to grow their outreach opportunities beyond Trinity. 

If you love this concept and would like to get involved or help fund a similar project then please get in contact with Caroline Spencer,

Connect Me: Connecting Our Communities

Connect Me is a Government of Jersey initiative that provides grants of up to £5,000 for projects which increase opportunities for Jersey residents to participate in arts or physical activities for wellbeing.  If you would like to find out more click here.

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