‘Joy at the Jobcentre’ partnership wins Museums + Heritage Award

‘Joy at the Jobcentre’ partnership wins Museums + Heritage Award

A joint initiative by Colchester + Ipswich Museums Service and the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), providing free activities to families at Jobcentres across Suffolk has won the Partnership of the Year Award at the Museums + Heritage Awards 2023.

‘Joy at the Jobcentre’ provides free activities for families, including shared meals, crafts, dance, and even live animals.


As well as Jobcentre-based activities, invites are shared with families supported by the Jobcentre to support them engage with other local cultural events and creative groups across Suffolk to enjoy other activities.

The initiative organised by Colchester + Ipswich Museums Service with the Department of Work and Pensions Suffolk (DWP, Suffolk Family Focus and more than 50 partner organisations – has been running since 2015, with more events planned this year.


During 2022, Colchester + Ipswich Museums Service shared their approach with other Jobcentres and cultural organisations all over East Anglia to create a cultural model for Jobcentres, which they hope will be rolled out across the UK.


Councillor Carole Jones, Ipswich Borough Council Portfolio Holder for Planning and Museums, says: “We’re so pleased to see that this project has been recognised with this important award, building on our recognition for this project at the Museum + Heritage Awards in the last two years.


At the heart of this is a belief that everyone has the right to find joy in being creative, regardless of money, ability, or background. It’s fantastic to see something that started here in Ipswich growing into something to help bring joy to Jobcentres right across Suffolk.”


A member of DWP staff commented on the project: “Parents have shared how much of a difference they have seen in their children throughout the half-term week. Children who struggled to engage or whose confidence around others was low have surprised their parents by freely playing with other children and adults.”


A visitor to Ipswich Jobcentre Plus said: “The staff were brilliant, made us feel welcome good to know kids were safe.”


The Museums + Heritage Awards celebrate and recognise leading lights and institutions in this sector.


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