Polaroid of Beth and Maeve
Project Updates

Sanctuary Community Diaries

Our Learning and Participation team, Beth (Head of Learning and Participation), Maeve (Assistant Producer) and Rosie (Producer) have been working on the ground in Nuneaton and Bedworth since October 2021.

For each of Artichoke’s projects, our Learning and Participation activities aim to help young people and communities gain new skills and create spectacular artworks together with professionals.

We’re working closely with Nuneaton & Bedworth Borough Council on Sanctuary to provide opportunities for local people, including paid carpentry apprenticeships, workshops, volunteering roles and work with schools and community groups.

Beth, Maeve and Rosie have been keeping a diary of their work with the wonderful people in the local community. Delve into their diary entries below to learn more.

28 March 2022

Workshop at Edwards St Community Centre, Nuneaton for Khair in the Community

We held a workshop with Khair in the Community, an elder’s group who provide food to the wider community, we also had Syrian refugees join the workshop. Our youngest participant was 4 and our oldest was 94 years old. Our oldest participant found it challenging to write her name and her daughter was so proud of her for succeeding because she couldn’t remember the last time this had happened.

Khair in the community doing a panel making workshop

This group had suffered a lot through Covid. One participant’s panel design showed how she was unable to contact her family whilst she was in the hospital from a heart attack. It took 24 hours for her family to be notified, then another few days before she could speak with her family.

We also visited North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College to speak with 5 interested Build participants via the SWAP scheme. They were all engaged and asked questions. We are hope that they will follow through with the process. We’ve had 3 additional participants from Men in Sheds.

A wonderful legacy from Temple 2015 is the news that 9 participants will be joining us from Derry~Londonderry as part of the Communities in Transition project.

Photo of the participants from derry with artist david best in front of sanctuary while it's being built


29 March 2022

Workshop at the Bedworth Arts Centre

We ran a workshop with Bedworth Arts Centre to create the panel designs for Sanctuary with a local group of artists and young people. They were a vocal group and they asked us lots of questions about the project. They also shared their experience of what it’s like to live in the community.

Cut out pieces of black paper being arranged into a panel design

The youngest participant has become interested in making art after the passing of her dad, three years ago. Alisha, our workshop facilitator, was brilliant at engaging her and helped her to create a lovely panel displaying all of the pets she has at home.


April 2022

Meeting the community

We interviewed a lovely woman, who we think will get a lot from this opportunity. She has suffered during Covid on multiple levels and is very excited at the idea of putting herself back out there and gaining back her confidence.

We also met with a local man whose carer had applied on his behalf to be a participant in Sanctuary. He suffers from short term memory loss after an accident which has left him unable to work and dealing with anxiety. Before his accident he was a carpenter for many years and he also renovated his own home. He has shown interest in being a Build participant and we will be working with him and his carers closely to support his needs.

Shots of different elements of the Sanctuary structure before put together

We also spent the day interviewing for Build participants at the Bedworth Ex-Servicemens Social Club.

A few of the incredible people we interviewed and who we will be offering a place to include:

  • An asylum seeker from Iran who has been living in a hotel for 5 months whilst the Government processes her status. She is hoping to volunteer on the build
  • A man who is currently not working and has worked in construction previously, he asked where the local chippy was if he was to join the build
  • A headteacher who took early retirement due to the pressures Covid put on her at school
  • A single father who currently isn’t working because he looks after his 11-year-old son
  • A young woman who studied in the arts and is currently on the Kickstarter Scheme Workshop at Bedworth Arts Centre


1 May 2022

Welcoming David to Bedworth

We welcomed David to the UK with lunch at Imagineer and a chat with staff and some young artists.

Black and white headshot of David Best

On 4 May we held an induction day for our Build participants.

Build participant in a high-vis working on a collage with wood offcuts

It was really nice to see everyone in one place and introduce them to David to discuss the project and fully grasp what they would be doing by seeing it in person.  Thanks to Arlowe (Artichoke Admin Assistant) for wrangling all the paperwork!

Unfortunately, we’ve had some last minute drop outs from the build, but David has been steadily recruiting people who have shown interest walking past the site.

David Best speaking across a fence to a woman with a person with a child in a stroller


5 May 2022

The build begins… 

The 5 May was our first official day for the Build Participants and they were set to task in the morning. It’s great to have everyone here and raring to go.

People in high-vis working on a pile of wood offcuts

Jane from Imagineer also brought along a group of young people to get involved.

High-vis, steel-capped boots on display by everyone and gorgeous food supplied by the local cafe for lunch set a nice vibe to the site.

Weather Watch: Sunscreen needed. Everyone happy, but burnt.

Our Sanctuary T-shirts have arrived (and modelled below by the wonderful producer extraordinaire, Eloise!)

Eloise posing with her hands on her hips with in an orange Tshirt with the word 'Sanctuary' across the front

The site provides a wonderful thoroughfare for the community and has peaked a lot of public interest and conversations (plus fantastic dog watching). More applications for volunteering and Build participants have been coming through steadily.

Polaroids of everyone working on site on a pin board


4 May 2022

Life on-site

Men in high-vis up a ladder building Sanctuary

We had a phone call from a grandmother who was walking past the Sanctuary site with her grandchildren and the crew started to chatting to them about the project. She called to let us know that they were incredibly friendly and wonderful with the children and wanted to pass on her thanks and that she’d be coming to the burn.


One of the Build Participants who has a significant brain injury turned up for the induction.

We’ve been trying to get him to agree to attend for the last few months and he turned up.

Picture from a far of the sanctuary site on the mound

Special thanks for the National Lottery Community Fund for supporting this paid opportunity for our Build Participants.

Sanctuary is produced by Artichoke, in association with Imagineer supported by Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council, Warwickshire County Council, Royal Shakespeare Company, Garfield Weston Foundation and the Sanctuary Business Club.

For more on the stories behind Sanctuary, visit our YouTube channel.

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