Bilston Craft Gallery has scooped a grant to extend its work with young children and their families.

Craftplay, the Wolverhampton City Council run gallery's unique creative play programme for children aged up to 7, has been awarded £14,000 by The Happy Museums Project to develop a new project inspired by the gallery's community garden which will involve children from local nurseries.

Craftplay runs groups where young children play creatively with a wide range of materials. They use the top quality craft works at Bilston Craft Gallery and are inspired to create, play and combine a wide range of materials, including recycled items and objects that can be found in the home.

The funding will allow Bilston Craft Gallery to commission inspiring new resources for this age group from professional artists and craftspeople.

The project will be inspired by the community garden and outside spaces, building links between Craftplay, the gallery and its wider environment. Local nurseries will be invited to join the project so that the artists can find out from children how their play often mixes activities and combines different objects together as they learn about the world.

Craftplay Co-ordinator Jack Shuttleworth said: This project is pushing the boundaries in lots of ways - challenging artists to make things that children really want, deepening our support for local communities and building stronger connections with our environment. But what really matters is that the creative learning sessions for our children will be even better."

Councillor Elias Mattu, Wolverhampton City Council's Cabinet Member for Leisure and Communities, added: "Young children get so much out of the Craftplay sessions that we hold at Bilston Craft Gallery and I'm delighted that we'll be able to build upon these already hugely successful activities thanks to this funding from The Happy Museums Project."

Bilston Craft Gallery created the project in partnership with Craftspace, the Birmingham based craft development agency. The grant was awarded by The Happy Museums Project which is encouraging museums to make closer links with their communities and environments.

Craftplay offers a range of sessions including a weekly Explorer's club, regular drop-in stay and play sessions and visits from nursery and reception classes. It has extra sessions through the summer holidays as part of the wider range of family activities run by WAVE, the museums, galleries and archives of Wolverhampton. For more information, please visit Type=links;Linkid=2106;Title=Museums, Galleries and Archives of Wolverhampton;Target=_blank;.

  • released: Tuesday 13 August, 2013