“CRICCIETH Creadigol” – “Creative Criccieth” has been crowned the Wales winner of the 2021 Creative Lives Awards in recognition of its multi-art project.

Shining a light on the importance and resilience of creative work within communities during the pandemic, the 13 winners and runners-up were announced on March 1 at Coventry Cathedral as part of the UK City of Culture celebrations.

The winners were chosen for helping people through the pressures of lockdown by offering ways to stay connected, feel supported, be creative and have fun.

Criccieth Town Council responded to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic by building on its record of creative engagement and facilitating a number of imaginative projects which have involved hundreds of volunteers in their design and delivery.

These projects have included a large number of voluntary associations, the town’s primary school and individual artists and other creative talents, drawing on talents from across the generations and from all districts of the town.

Dr Catrin Jones, Criccieth Town Council clerk, said: ““I am so proud that we responded to the challenges imposed by COVID-19 with compassion, energy and vision.

“We reached out, through varied creative projects to involve hundreds in the community, drawing on talents from across the generations and from all the districts of the town, contributing to people’s well-being and quality of life.

“The response from individuals and community groups to our varied imaginative projects has been fantastic.

“These projects included a gown of poppies, friendship benches, a Rainbow Bridge to commemorate the NHS and key workers, community gardening – we even produced a unique artistic and bilingual town map.

“People were able to remain connected by contributing to community initiatives from the confines of their homes even during extensive periods of lockdowns.

“It is amazing to see the results which have become lasting legacies, marking an unprecedented time in our lives.

“It is an honour to be recognised with a Creative Lives award which is a tribute to such a wonderful community effort.”

Chief whip of the Welsh Government and deputy minister for arts and sport, Dawn Bowden MS, said: “I am delighted to be able to congratulate the winners at this year’s Creative Lives Awards.

“These last two years have been a particularly difficult time for our sector and it has had a profound effect on society in general.

“We have all faced difficult periods away from the people, the places and the activities that give our lives a sense of purpose.

“This has had a huge impact on our mental and physical wellbeing.

“I know the focus of the awards this year is on community-based creativity that responded imaginatively to the difficulties of the pandemic and I am pleased to see that this year’s winners, Creative Criccieth, Coffee ‘N’ Laughs, Celf Able and Lost Connections are doing so much good at community level by using the arts to bring people together.

“They all show the benefits to wellbeing and social connection of taking part in creative activities during a worrying and troubling time. I wish them all the very best for the future.”

Chief executive of Creative Lives, Robin Simpson, added: “The annual Creative Lives Awards are always an inspiring celebration of the ingenuity, determination and passion of volunteer-led creative groups in local communities across the UK and Ireland.

“This year’s awards feel particularly humbling, reflecting the incredible way that creative groups responded to the once-in-a-lifetime challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, using their capabilities, resources and networks in extraordinary ways to support those in greatest need within their communities through this difficult period.

“I am genuinely in awe of these amazing volunteers and their stunning achievements. I applaud them all.”