Winners Announced for Creative Lives Awards, Celebrating Creative Groups Across UK and Ireland

The 13 winners and runners-up were announced last night at Coventry Cathedral as part of the UK City of Culture celebrations.

By: Mar. 02, 2022
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Winners Announced for Creative Lives Awards, Celebrating Creative Groups Across UK and Ireland

Creative Lives, the registered charity that champions community and volunteer-led arts activity, is delighted to announce the winners of the 2021 Creative Lives Awards.

Shining a light on the importance and resilience of creative work within communities during the pandemic, the 13 winners and runners-up were announced last night at Coventry Cathedral as part of the UK City of Culture celebrations.

Selected from a shortlist of 31 inspiring groups from across the UK and Ireland, the winners were chosen for helping people through the pressures of lockdown by offering ways to stay connected, feel supported, be creative and have fun.

From England, the winner is London-based grassroots organisation May Project Gardens, which turned a former derelict garden into a public community space. Their mission is to empower marginalised groups to address poverty, by offering resources that promote creativity and sustainability through gardening.

The runner-up from England is a creative collective called Inside Out, made up of 70 local volunteers from Fleetwood who worked alongside artist Gillian Wood to sew gowns for the NHS and curate an exhibition of local creative work that was displayed within a disused Fleetwood hospital.

From Ireland, the winner is Black Box Projects, which is run for and by people living with learning disabilities, supported by a team of dedicated volunteers from within the Black Box venue in Belfast. Shifting to online delivery, the group stayed connected through a diverse programme including a book club, discussion group and music sessions.

The runner-up from Ireland is Drumgoon Hill Old Graveyard Committee who presented Hooley in the House, as part of the national Culture Night festivities in County Cavan. Recording footage that combined music, singing and storytelling, the event was shared online for the whole community to engage with and enjoy.

From Scotland, film was utilised by winners Overdrive Dance Company who reworked their upcoming stage performance 3billion to be presented on screen instead. A dance group for boys and young men in Glasgow, each person harnessed their skills to shift work online; showcasing creativity and resilience throughout.

The Scotland runners-up are Glasgow-based group, The Survivor Arts Community, who deliver illustration workshops for survivors of sexual abuse or domestic violence. During the pandemic their workshops moved online, culminating in a digital exhibition that challenged misconceptions about abuse and survivors.

From Wales, the winner is multi-art project Creative Criccieth from the seaside town of the same name. In response to the pandemic, the community engaged with a series of projects including the creation of the Criccieth Gown of Poppies made of 5,000 poppies, and designed Friendship Benches for intergenerational connection.

Using craft to bring a community together, Welsh runners-up Lost Connections used the motif of hands to symbolise connection. Local people were encouraged to partake in textile projects ranging from creating a 'quilt of friendship' to a 'coat of radical kindness.'

The winners from each nation were chosen by judges from the respective countries, whilst the shortlisted groups involved also had the opportunity to vote for each other in a Peer Award for Excellence.

May Project Gardens was awarded their second accolade of the evening, alongside co-winner Celf-Able - an inclusive, disabled-led art group from Wales that moved its weekly sessions online, to continue advocating for accessibility across arts.


In the run-up to the Creative Lives Awards, members of the public were encouraged to vote for their favourite group in the People's Choice Awards. The voting saw a total of 4,732 votes cast, with winners Drumgoon Hill Old Graveyard Committee receiving their second award at the event.


The pandemic continues to showcase how vital creativity is in forming connections, and positively helping to benefit health and wellbeing. The organisation and awards spotlight the importance of fostering a sense of identity, improving physical and mental wellbeing, and supporting people across society, whilst advocating for accessibility, equity and inclusion across communities.

This year, the Celebrating Diversity Award Winner saw Newport-based friendship group Coffee 'n' Laughs commended for offering an open and inclusive space for women 'of all faiths and none' to come together. During the pandemic, activity was rolled out over WhatsApp and Zoom, with sessions designed to help vulnerable members feel empowered and connected over an isolated period.

The Celebrating Diversity Award runners-up are Fallen Angels Dance Theatre Company from Chester, who support those in recovery from addiction to transform their lives and to share their recovery journey with the public through dance, performance and creativity.

With the awards taking place in Coventry as part of the UK City of Culture, the Local Hero Award was awarded to Mark Gibbins of Coventry Men's Shed.


Each recipient received an award, framed certificate, cash prize and free access to all of Creative Lives' future 'Creative Learning' online training sessions.

For more about Creative Lives visit:
https://www.creative-lives.org



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