Looking to build upon the success of the Dartford Creative initiative last year, dArtlife is a relatively new social group which has been set up for fun and creativity with some sketching and creative writing. It meets on the first Thursday of every month at The Meeting Place within the Orchards Shopping Centre in Dartford. Dartford Matters caught up with the group’s creator, Dilys Lawler, and she has kindly agreed to answer some questions about how and why the group was started and what any new members can expect to get out of the group.
What was your original idea behind forming the group?
I wanted to start a social group that could help bring the community together. I thought that being creative is a great way of relaxing and with people sharing ideas, it helps to bring out people’s skills and enjoy discussions.
How successful have the initial meetings been?
Although we have only had two sessions, the small group that have attended have had people aged from 18 to 60 plus but all have shared ideas on got on well. There was lots of fun conversation and great poetry and sketches were produced by the end of the meeting.
Have there been any teething problems?
I did have a slight problem with people gaining access to the Meeting Place place on the last session due to Waitrose closing. I need to advise people about gaining access to the Meeting Place during the evenings whilst changes are going through.
Does the group have any minimum ability requirements or can potential members with little or no experience join?
Members don’t need to have experience but can gain some confidence in skills and hopefully some new friendships from coming.
Is there an opportunity for any specific training in these activities?
If people wanted to be helped with their literacy skills I am happy to oblige.
How much does it cost to attend each meeting?
It costs £4 now. I am unable to store art materials at the Meeting Place and bringing lots of equipment to the centre is difficult, I have decided to reduce the price as members will only be using paper, pencils and pens which I am happy to provide. This £4 charge helps to cover costs for these materials and the cost of my public liability insurance cover.
You said that you have a varied age range. Do you cater for juniors at present or is this intended in the future?
I am happy for younger people to attend if they are accompanied by an adult in the evening. I do have a CRB/DBS check as I work within Student Services.
How can potential members make contact with you?
Either by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 07411 449777
My thanks to Dilys for answering these questions. If any readers feel that they want to develop their creative skills, please contact Dilys. It may be that dArtlife will be able to help you in your quest.