Connect to Create: Long Covid Creative Support Programme
Connect to Create is a 28 day creative support programme for those with ongoing symptoms and long term effects of Covid-19.
In 2020 our CEO, Jo Hunter, experienced 6 months of chronic fatigue, chest pain and breathlessness as a result of Covid-19, and after consulting with other Long Covid patients through Facebook groups found that there was a gap in spaces set up for positive group support. With funding received from The National Lottery Community Fund, we set up this pilot online support programme for those with Long Covid to connect through creativity and provide a space for honest reflections and positive encouragement in a safe, relaxed environment.
Activity Illustrations by Monique Jackson
Connect to Create was co-designed with Monique Jackson, artist, Long Covid advocate and creator of the ‘Still Ill Corona Diary’ – a visual journal of Monique’s experience falling ill with Covid 19 in March 2020 and ongoing symptoms. Find out more about Monique’s work here. Together we developed the framework for the programme through a series of co-creation workshops with Long Covid Patients including NHS Staff, identifying the needs and processes that would be beneficial to the community.
The programme took shape as 28 days of gentle creative activities, with participants connecting in What’s App Groups. A platform for positive points of connection, to boost mood and strengthen resilience. We have previously undertaken successful clinical research with UCL to show a link between creative support groups and positive impacts on mental health – read about it here.
The 28 creative activities were playful prompts to inspire accessible creative action. With participants encouraged to spend as little or as long as they like doing, thinking and sharing.
Participant responses to the creative activities
Feedback from participants on benefits of the programme included:
- Not feeling alone
- Connecting to others with Long Covid
- Feeling part of something and sense of achievement
- Being creative without judgement or pressure
- Mindfulness & Reflection
Read our full report, exploring the structure and impact of the programme:
With the feedback and learnings from this programme, we hope to roll out the programme again in the future to wider groups across the UK.
Would you like to run a Long Covid Support Programme in your community, workplace or health and care setting? We’d love to hear from you.
For more information or to ask any questions please get in touch with Yashoda Rodgers at email@example.com