Crawley: kick-starting a new sense of aspiration, joy and togetherness

A new long-term project in Crawley is underway inviting people in the area to explore how art and culture can kick-start a new sense of aspiration, joy and togetherness in their town – and volunteers are needed.
Creative Playground team with local residents at Broadfield Arts Festival (pic by Ian Greenland)Creative Playground team with local residents at Broadfield Arts Festival (pic by Ian Greenland)
Creative Playground team with local residents at Broadfield Arts Festival (pic by Ian Greenland)

Creative Playground is one of 39 projects around England, funded by Arts Council England’s Creative People and Places programme, working hand in hand with local people to make art and culture a part of daily life. Led by a consortium of local organisations and with residents at its heart, Creative Playground is bringing people together to get creative, share experiences and become more connected. Right now, Creative Playground is looking for Crawley locals to volunteer as Playmakers: people who help shape the programme, decide what happens and encourage others to get involved too.

Crawley resident Iyadh Daoud became a Playmaker in March and is excited about the impact Creative Playground will have on the town. He said: “Creative Playground will add new colourful strands to the beautiful tapestry of my adopted home of Crawley.”

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Co-directors Louise Blackwell and Sophie Eustace are encouraging other Crawley locals to join Iyadh as volunteer Playmakers.

Louise said: “You don’t have to currently feel like you’re creative or arty to get involved. Creative Playground can be what you want to make it, especially if you are up for having a go and being part of something bigger. You can be involved in small ways or develop more in-depth connections. By taking part you might have fun, feel like an explorer, feel more confident or happier. Dip your toe in. You never know who you might meet or what might happen.

“Whether you are an interested local resident, have a passion for reading or online gaming, like listening to music or watching films. Or if you love am-dram, are a business owner, a hair-dresser, a delivery driver, a teacher, or a taxi driver. Or whether you work in a pub, at Gatwick Airport, a care home or anything in between in Crawley. This could be for you.”

Over the summer, the Creative Playground team will be out and about, meeting people in their neighbourhood groups, at community centres, schools and colleges to find out what’s important to them and to recruit volunteer Playmakers:

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Every Friday afternoon until the end of October, Crawley residents can drop in for a chat and to have a go at something creative at one of Creative Playground’s Free Friday events, taking place every week in either Bewbush, Broadfield, Langley Green or West Green. The team invite you to come and say hello at Crawley Pride on August 19, and at St Wilfred’s School on August 22 they’re looking forward to meeting people at the Refugee Wellbeing event.

The Creative Playground team is keen to hear from anyone who would like to invite them to their event too. To find out more about Creative Playground, becoming a Playmaker and about what’s on, visit or get in touch via phone or Whatsapp on 07951 122157. The Creative Playground is a new arts project in Crawley set up to engage more local people in arts and culture led by Manor Royal Business Improvement District and a consortium of local organisations: Crawley LGBTQU+, The Hawth and Crawley Town Community Foundation. It is funded as part of Arts Council England’s Creative People and Places Programme and managed by Creative Crawley.

“The project will improve people’s lives by increasing Crawley people’s engagement in arts and culture.

“Our vision for Creative Playground is that in ten years’ time, Crawley will be a creative playground, a colourful and creative place that inspires joyful togetherness. Crawley will be a vibrant and inclusive place to live, grow and learn. A place where we dare to dream for ourselves, for others and for Crawley.”