Make do and mend
The Make Do and Mend project was funded by the Arts Council England in 2020 during the pandemic. A 5-day VE Day festival on Southend Pier had to be cancelled but with only a few weeks turn around, Make Do and Mend celebrated the best of Southend-on-Sea virtually. It was an overwhelming success with over 100,000 participants at events of all kinds from singalongs to documentaries and wonderful archive films.
The history that is taught in schools is usually about world events and famous people. The HMS Leigh Guardian of the Thames project set out to find the hidden history of those who played their part but were never properly recognised for their contribution. With many older people having more time to spare, we were delighted to be inundated with requests to tell us their WW2 stories. This definitely contributed to the success of HMS Leigh: The Bravest Pier in the World the 5-day event that celebrated all that is WW2 Southend in September 2021.
The ACE Emergency Response Fund enabled our team to develop the creativity of both amateur and professional artists. Some of our most vulnerable children and adults have benefitted from the work that our artistic lead, Ali Ward was able to do alongside Alastair Deacon, our technical director in training all kinds of artists to film themselves in lockdown. These skills are still being used regularly in the Southend SEND Schools.