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Hertfordshire Year of Culture 2020 (HYOC2020) is responding to the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis by reminding the county's residents that whilst many events, schools and working in the office might be cancelled, creativity certainly isn’t.

Local artists and groups are finding ways to continue to deliver their creative content online or via activity packs, which can be delivered or collected in line with current guidelines. HYOC2020 is sharing its resources wherever it can via social media channels and on the Creative Hertfordshire website.

A creative project can be a great way to keep children stimulated and engaged. It can alleviate feelings of stress and anxiety, it can bring people together online or it can simply be a way of passing the time.

Hilary Shade, Chair of Herts Association of Cultural Officers, said: “We want to let everyone know that HYOC2020 is still carrying on but with a change in focus to online content.

“We are keen to shine a spotlight on all the fabulous creativity that’s going on in homes throughout the county.

“Creativity has been proven to improve mental health and wellbeing, which is particularly important at a time like this when things can seem overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be much, just a quick five-minute break from reality can help lift your mood.”

If you’re looking for some inspirational ideas and activities head to the Creative Hertfordshire website. There’s loads on here from local people and organisations and we’ve picked a few to get you started:

  • Electric Umbrella has announced the launch of Electric Umbrella TV. Each day, you can join EUTV and its fantastic music presenters via Facebook and Zoom for singing, signing, fun and occasional mayhem. Shows are open to all ages (with and without a learning disability) and last 45 minutes. Weekday programmes are at 8am, midday, 4pm and 8pm. Full details can be found on the Electric Umbrella website.
  • Trestle Theatre is setting a range of resources, challenges and ideas to help everyone stay creative over the coming weeks. Details are available on its website.
  • Those of you who didn’t get chance to visit the UHArts Plastic Matters exhibition can now do so via a virtual walkthrough on the University of Hertfordshire's website.
  • Hertfordshire Music Service is sharing daily music activities and challenges on social media on Twitter, follow @hertsmusic and #hertsmusicmoment.
  • There’s also loads of national projects taking place online giving access to a huge range of culture, creativity and heritage at our fingertips.

HYOC2020 is supported by all 11 Hertfordshire local authorities. The Programme Board has additional representation from Hertfordshire Music Service, the University of Hertfordshire, Visit Herts, Letchworth Heritage Foundation and Trestle Theatre Company.