We All Do Good Things: Herne Bay brought a town together by using the arts to share and celebrate the good things people do. It took place in Herne Bay, East Kent in 2009 and 2010.

  • 5,702 people actively participated in the project – about 1 in 6 of the population
  • 92 free public workshops and events took place
  • 32 local organisations were involved
  • 8 new community-led initiatives were set up as a direct result

The aims

The project aimed to increase:

  • participation in the arts
  • trust/neighbourliness
  • volunteering
  • community connections

What we did

Artists worked with every section of the community to uncover and celebrate positive stories. The work took place in bingo halls and beach huts, shop fronts and sports clubs, schools and residential homes.

It grew from the grassroots:

  • members of Age Concern writing their own books on friendship
  • young people designing a comic
  • adults with mental health issues working with a professional film company to make a film on kindness
  • 882 schoolchildren bringing their stories to life through crafts and design.

Before long, we were running events all over town:

  • cake decorating, bunting and chalk literature on the seafront
  • poetry with John Hegley
  • a play inspired by and performed in a hairdressing salon
  • photos of unsung community heroes displayed across the town

We ran a two-month exhibition in the local museum and in shop windows. And we finished with a Giant Picnic, attended by more than 1,000 people.

New community initiatives

The project has inspired and supported the Herne Bay community in setting up a number of new initiatives that are increasing arts participation, trust and neighbourliness, and volunteering:

  • A Community Action Group for young people aged 11-18 who want to make a positive difference in Herne Bay
  • The Giant Picnic – set to become an annual event run by Herne Bay in Bloom and local partners
  • The Beach Hut in Herne Bay (Hut 136) – a council beach hut transformed into a reflective space where individuals or groups can dream up ideas for making the world a better place
  • Links with local primary schools have been set up with Sea View Singing Group, a singing project for adults with dementia
  • Creative Minds, a new arts group run by and for adults with mental health issues
  • An independent community cinema showing classic and locally produced films

We have supported these initiatives for as long as they needed us to and some are still going strong! The Giant Picnic for example, is in its fifth year and is run entirely by the community.

Award-winning!

In 2011, We All Do Good Things won the Canterbury for Culture Community Award sponsored by Canterbury City Council. The project also won the national Social Enterprise Award organised by New Start – the UK’s leading magazine about making places better.

Contact us

If you’re interested in running a similar project in your area, we’d be delighted to help so please do contact us. We’d love to tell you more about what we do – and to hear your ideas.

 

People United Community by Barry Lewis
John Hegley at Herne Bay Bandstand (by George Wilson)
Children holding the finished bags
The Giant Picnic, by Zoe Maxwell
Making the Kindness film by Mick Etherton
Tales from the Chair
The Beach Hut in Herne Bay
Beach Hut day, by Lucy Steggals
Kindness Ribbon