For two very different organisations, Ipswich Museums and the Jobcentre Plus have discovered that we have a surprising amount in common. Most of all, we want to find ways to be useful to our local communities and support Ipswich’s wonderful and diverse people.
Supported by Suffolk Family Focus and the Arts Council England, the Jobcentre Plus and Ipswich Museums team have been looking for new ways to support each other’s customers, though events, promotion of volunteering and training opportunities and staff training.
One of our youngest visitors playing in the Under 5s Zone at the Family Fun Day
From speaking with the team at the Jobcentre, it became clear that many of their parents and carers find it a challenge to entertain their families over the long summer holidays, especially if budgets are tight. We offer many free and low-cost events, but we thought we could do more to welcome families into the Museum, Ipswich Art Gallery and Christchurch Mansion. We wondered what would happen if we ran one of our Museum events at Ipswich Jobcentre Plus.
So, on Friday 16th August, we took over our local Jobcentre for a day of animal antics and creature crafts, joined by teams from the Jobcentre, Wellbeing Suffolk and Suffolk Family Carers.
“I loved the fact this felt like a real community event, with activities for the whole family. It gave parents the opportunity to speak to Jobcentre staff about the support we can give them while their children were being entertained, and hopefully we will be seeing more events like this in the future.”
Julia Nix, Jobcentre Plus service leader, Department of Work and Pensions
Izzy introducing visitors to a mammoth’s tooth
With live animal handling, a pop-up mini museum, artist-led activities, make-your-own wellbeing wands, badge making, under 5s zone and mindfulness activities, there was a lot to get stuck into for the families that came along on the day.
Not many Jobcentres have visits from bunnies this fluffy
We were thrilled to welcome nearly 100 people to our family fun day. Here’s what they said:
“Animals activities was all amazing my children loved it”
“All of the activities were thoroughly enjoyed. It was lovely for my three year old son. A fantastic idea through the holidays.”
“The variety of activities and the extremely helpful people running the event All ages catered for!”
“The people that were running the under fives area were amazing to my six month old very good with children and the art lady was so good with my baby. Thank you for all the friendly staff in general”
We’re already thinking what we might do next with the Jobcentre Plus – ideas welcome!
Elle, Curator at Ipswich Museums and Philip Carter-Goodyear, Suffolk Family Focus and Social Justice Manager and Disability Employment Adviser Leader, Department of Work and Pensions, Ipswich Jobcentre Plus