For our Welcome Walk on Sat 21st October, we explored the beautiful trails of RSPB Minsmere, with Ruel Fox (former Norwich City, Tottenham) and artist, Anna Ilsley, who led a variety of creative activities.

With all materials included, our group were able to explore their creativity making tonal drawings, using charcoal and rubber, and painting with natural inks from Oak Galls and Funghi, whilst reflecting on the immersive surrounding landscape.

We also facilitated a group of asylum seekers who are currently living in a hotel in Ipswich, which was an enriching experience for them, creatively and socially, and enabled them access to East Suffolk’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which they otherwise would not have experienced.

Rural settings can be prone to displacement and isolation, but events like this prove crucial to unification within communities and provide an effective creative outlet in an inspiring landscape. The group described the experience as life affirming and beneficial to their mental wellbeing.

We would like to thank RSPB Minsmere for their generous provision of free access to the site, as well as free binoculars for our group. We would also like to thank Shamaila Waddle from Volunteering Matters, Project Manager of Adult Social Action, for connecting us with the group of asylum seekers.

This project has been funded by the Coast & Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Amenity and Accessibility Fund, Greater Anglia, Postcode Places Trust, and Alpkit Foundation. Thank you to Greater Anglia and the East Suffolk Community Rail Partnership for providing free group train travel.