Growing and tackling social isolation JimW-Quilt-74-1536×1024 Full view

Growing and tackling social isolation

We are growing at pace, despite, or perhaps to some extent because of the pandemic. Significant Seams is now actively recruiting three Young Artists in Residence/Development Assistants, Youth Worker, 2 enablers, and 2 new Board Members.

These postholders will be partners in shaping forward trajectory for the organisation, particularly helping to develop community projects – around heritage, inclusion and identity, and income streams and partnerships to enable work to support people’s wellbeing. Over the coming year the organisation anticipates continuing to work with mental health services of the NHS, developing its substantial track record of work with young people, and developing two new projects: one finding inspiration from heritage and environment and the other exploring personal stories and themes of identity. Along the way we aim to continue to support individuals and communities through craftivism and partnerships with like minded organisations, including Art & Energy CIC and the Craftivist Collective.

We invite expressions of interest for a variety of roles working with us. 

We seek established  arts, health, and/or community sector professioals who might lend advice and support to our governance and development. Our Board members serve in the Director role in a voluntary capacity, however, they are also eligible for paid work from the organisation – as freelancers – as and when appropriate opportunities to their skills arise.  Enquire or nominate someone at

Our Youth Worker and Enabler roles are for freelancers with experience working with teens, ideally including those with special needs. They will be integral to a 16 day programme delivered in Crediton in August 2021. Enquire or Apply at

We also seek three early career arts, health and/or community sector professionals for ‘Kickstarter’ Young Artist in Residence/Development Assistant roles. Funded by DWP, these roles have criteria associated with the funding – applicants must be aged 16-24 and in receipt of universal credit. These 6-month contracts will be part-time and paid and shaped collaboratively with and for the right candidates. They will have administrative and creative elements and can be titled Development Assistant or Young Artist in Residence, as feels most appropriate to selected applicants’ personal trajectory. Each of these roles will be open until the right candidate is found. It is imagined each post will align to a particular area of activity. Applications are made via job centre job coaches.

Connection is a major theme of Significant Seams work. In the early days of the pandemic Significant Seams launched ‘The Quarantine Quilt Project.’ It linked arts and health practitioners, many of whom were freelancers, scrambling around lost work amidst a calling to support communities, as well as engaging cross sections of people in a collective response to the pandemic. We distributed around 150 free sewing packs to isolated people and ultimately assembled a three art quilt installation piece reflecting our shared and deeply individual experiences of the first lockdown. This project also enabled us to develop and pilot 6 new online courses for the NHS, delivered with Devon NHS Partnership Trust and the Devon Recovery Learning Community. Through the winter of 20-21, with support from Devon County Council, we undertook rigourous evaluation of the new courses to understand their impact better, using a combination of participant feedback and Warwick Edinburgh Wellbeing Measurement Data to improve our understanding of the particular impacts and strengths of our various courses.

As vaccination rates rise and horizons lengthen again, we are now also staying attuned to the impact of the crazy last year plus x number of months on collective and individual wellbeing. We, the freelancer team that make up Significant Seams, are regularly checking in on each other. We share a sense of calling to community work, but also an imperative for self care, so we can help others. We are recognising our limitations as well as the emerging need for more of the type of work we do, and so we are inviting like minded others to connect with us. We do not want to shirk from the need around us, but we will need partners, friends, and colleagues – what we like to call, ‘Frolleagues’ to both develop funded work, and deliver it.

Research from the Mental Health Foundation shows that feelings of loneliness have not returned to pre-lockdown levels at any point over the past year and have in fact risen (to 26 % at February 2021) since March 2020 (10%). Our work tries to counteract root causes of mental ill health, like loneliness, through creativity and meaningful connections. Our NHS courses are still being offered on a regular basis and usually have waiting lists. We have several new strands of work that will be announced soon.

See also:

Board Role Description:

Board Member Nomination Form: 

Youth Worker Role:–5Xce9zpbwTUjpY/edit?usp=sharing 

Enablers Roles: 

Kickstart Young Artist in Residence/Development Assistant Role: 

Information about the Kickstart Scheme:

Written by Sue Turner

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