September 25, 2020

People United’s Kind Places & Spaces project explores the positive impact that creative art & design can have in community spaces. We’re particularly interested in looking at how these creative interventions might spread positive messages, bring people together and encourage communities to think or behave in a pro-social way. You can find out more here.

Rob Young’s proposal The Shop of Kindness is just one of the projects we commissioned as part of the Kind Places & Spaces initiative. We think it’s a brilliant idea, and we hope that you enjoy it. We’d love to hear what you think in the comments box below.

If you think you can help us to open the first Shop of Kindness – perhaps as a pop up pilot – please get in touch. We would love to see if there is a way to work with you and Rob to realise the idea.

Rob Young: The Shop of Kindness

A proposal for transforming an empty retail space into a welcoming, accessible Shop of Kindness where voluntary acts of generosity are traded and donated as if they were goods.

The line drawing seen above but with pink-circled numbers as follows 1 - by the indoor tables and chairs, 2 - by the postcard sized papers on the far wall, 3 - by the postcard-sized papers on the near wall, 4 - by the tree in the rear of the shop

Rob Young is an experienced writer and emerging artist. His proposal is about repurposing empty retail spaces to become welcoming community hubs, with a focus on connecting the skills, kindness and generosity of local people.

During his commission Rob spent time reflecting on the things that would help to create an open, friendly, accessible, and modern space. He looked back at one of People United’s earliest research projects, Welcome! (published in 2013 and available on our website) which looked at how cultural spaces could be more welcoming.

Building on the research, Rob has created a wonderful proposal for The Shop of Kindness, paying attention to important details, such as a drinks station, a quiet space and a book exchange. His aim is to create a place where people can make new friendships and feel connected to their community.

At the heart of The Shop of Kindness are two ‘post-it note’ walls – one where people offer to share their skills, services, advice and donations, and one where people can ask for support, guidance and help with all kinds of tasks and challenges.

We’re not revealing all of Rob’s plans in this post as we want you to see his fabulous proposal for yourself, so make sure you download it here and let us know what you think in the comments.  @R0BY0UNG

Rob Young is a veteran writer and emerging artist. He left home with the modest ambition of owning ‘a coloured TV’ and used to live on a building site. After being hit by a car, he took up writing to pass the time while his leg grew back together. It changed his life. 20 years later, he’s written everything from a Christina Ricci movie, Google’s first play and a hundred of his poems have just been built into the pavements of Kent. As an artist, Rob’s work has involved a helicopter, drone, folly, fishing boat and a football stadium.

In 2015, Rob started using his skills to help others. As a Faculty Associate of NHS Research & Development North West, he helps NHS leaders communicate complex issues such as FGM and HIV in a way that is warm, welcoming and accessible to all. He is currently helping Wellcome, Wellchild and the Elizabeth Casson Trust. His new exhibition opens at Clifton Park Museum in Rotherham on September 5th 2020.

Kind Canterbury is funded & supported by:

Arts Council England logo and text "Supported by Arts Council England"Canterbury City Council Logo

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