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We All Do Good Things

People United's We All Do Good Things initiative was an ambitious project that demonstrated how the arts can have a transformative effect across a whole town. Taking place in Herne Bay, Kent, the project celebrated kindness across the whole town.

The project built from the grassroots: from members of Age Concern working with artists to write their own books on friendship and young people designing a comic, to adults with mental health issues working with a professional film company to make a film on kindness. The project then extended, running over 70 public events across the town including:

  • Cake decorating, poetry with John Hegley, bunting and chalk literature on the sea front

  • Theatre performances of positive stories gleaned from and performed in hairdressing salons

  • A giant bottle travelling with the Sea Cadets to collect and exchange messages of goodwill

  • Photographs of unsung community heroes displayed across town

  • Every primary school sharing stories and decorating over 3,000 cotton bags with their own artwork

These activities culminated in our artist in residence, Lucy Steggals, curating an exhibition for 2 months in the main town museum and gallery as well as across shop windows in the town. Finally over 1,000 people came together for our Giant Picnic event, to dance to live music (including a local orchestra and Southern African musicians), take part in creative activities run by voluntary groups, and share and build a sense of community.  In total:

  • 5,672 people actively took participated in the project

  • There were 92 free public workshops and events

  • 882 pupils participated in craft and design activities bringing their stories to life

  • Every pupil in every primary school in Herne Bay and surrounding areas received a cotton bag to decorate with their own artwork and stories

  • 14 professional artists/artistic companies were involved in the project

  • 8 Kent-based artists/artistic companies took part

  • The project involved 32 local organisations

Although the main project has come to an end, People United will be supporting a number of community groups which have been inspired by We All Do Good Things project. These groups include a Community Action Group of young people aged 11 – 18 years who want to make a positive difference in Herne Bay, the Sea View Singing Group a singing project for adults with dementia, a community cinema at Herne Bay Little Theatre and Herne Bay in Bloom who will be taking forward the Giant Picnic in 2011.

Finally, the project is being professionally evaluated by the University of Kent, to measure it’s effect on volunteering, community cohesion, neighbourliness and arts participation.

I had the pleasure of working with People United as part of the We All Do Good Things community kindness project in Herne Bay last year. I cannot think of another organisation I have worked with over the past 20 years which has made such a positive impact, through its use of inspirational artists, to the wellbeing and cohesiveness of a local community.

Martin Crowther, Educational Development Manager, Canterbury City Council Museums and Galleries Service


Take a look at the archive of events and the photo galleries to see what happened.

Gallery images hosted by flikr at http://www.flickr.com/photos/wealldogoodthings/