2021 Creative Kids Vouchers Soon Expire – and there’s changes for 2022

2021 Creative Kids Vouchers Soon Expire – and there’s changes for 2022

Have you got Creative Kids vouchers still to use? You should soon also get your 2022 vouchers. Did you know that what you use the vouchers for is changing? (Especially those art packs).

I’m always seeing Facebook posts from parents asking where and how to use their Creative Kids vouchers. So, with my Arts OutWest hat on, I’ve had a chat with a few of the 100+ places in the Central West who accept the vouchers to find out how the program works for them.

Here’s our run-down on what Creative Kids is, how and where to use the vouchers locally… and what’s changing.

What are Creative Kids vouchers?

The NSW Government supports kids to get into creative activities with a $100 voucher per year, for each student aged 4.5 to 18 years old enrolled in school.

The voucher can be used with any registered activity provider for things like registration, participation and tuition costs for a whole range of creative activities, including arts, drama, dance, digital design, coding, and music lessons.

Apply for vouchers here then give the details to the registered activity provider

It’s the creative counterpart to the Active Kids program.

How do I find somewhere to use the vouchers?

You can see the whole list of registered activity providers on the Creative Kids website. Search by town/ postcode, activity type or actual name of a provider (a provider is the business or organisation who is registered to accept the vouchers – note, I found this particular search tricky if you spell it wrong).

Tip: Include as many of the search categories as you can so you don’t miss something eg: a provider might have listed as ‘drawing’ not ‘painting’.

So, you’ve looked on the site but how to you know what specific activities each provider currently offers? You’ll need to click through to each provider’s website to see that, or give them a call.

What about art packs bought online?

Then has been lots of online companies offering packs of art materials (of varying quality) in exchange for your $100 vouchers. The big news is that from Jan 2022 the packs that don’t come with live lesson delivery will no longer be eligible.

Create NSW says:

“From 1 January 2022, the Creative Kids program will refocus on encouraging real-time (live) activities. Art kit programs, pre-recorded video lessons and online programs that are not delivered in real-time will no longer be eligible.”

This means from 1 January 2022:

  • All art/craft kits must include live and interactive lessons between the participant and artist/educator (face-to-face or online). This means all stand-alone art/craft kits (those with only written lesson plans or pre-recorded videos) will become ineligible.
  • Online programs that are not delivered live, for example, pre-recorded lessons/workshops will become ineligible.
  • Live and interactive lessons which include the cost of art/craft kits will be eligible.

These were great while lockdowns were happening but the program is shifting back to the original aims.

This will effect some of our excellent local arts and crafts business who have been selling kits this way.

Tip: Get in before the end of December and use up your 2021 vouchers with the LOCAL Central West providers like LBB Resin, Fun Time Art, The Painted Pony Studio, Mudgee Art House or Cleverness Art School and others (some of whom also run classes).

Where can I use Creative Kids locally? Do we have to enrol in a weekly class?

There’s over a hundred registered providers across the region. Dance schools a plenty. Music classes of course. And then a few more obscure offerings (Russian language in Orange, for example).

Some of these places have weekly classes so your voucher will help with part of the rego, fees, uniform or instrument costs.

If you don’t have budget or time for weekly classes keep an eye out for school holiday programs through registered local councils, PCYCs, Neighbourhood centres, libraries or galleries (see Arts OutWest’s Whats On for this summer’s lists).

Groups like local musical societies are often Creative Kids providers and the $100 can go towards participating in shows.

Tip: If you kids are already doing creative classes check if your provider accepts Creative Kids and make sure they have your voucher details.

Do online classes count?

Yes, they sure do! But they have to be in real time and interactive in some way.

From 2022 the rule is that ‘online activities and programs’ include those delivered through video hosting platforms (such as YouTube, Zoom etc) and webinars (such as access to pre-recorded material). BUT online providers will need to show that participants are able to ask questions or seek lesson support. This can be via phone, email, live video or an online messaging platform.

How do online classes actually work?

Daniel Brown runs DB Drumming, is based in Mudgee but teaches kids across NSW to play the drum kit – “the coolest instrument”, he says.

“The lessons run for half an hour each week via Skype and are a fun and interactive way to learn drumming… I teach ranging from beginner to advanced sight-reading, how to play songs, and different beats to multiple genres from my program. Mostly rock music!” Daniel says.

“This not only helps build their confidence, it develops their co-ordination and musicality all at once! I can cater the lessons for kids of all ages and needs,” Daniel explains.

With DB Drumming the Creative Kids vouchers cover the tuition fees of a few of the lessons.

“This is super helpful for parents, especially during these times… it’s a very simple process” Daniel says.

Interested in drumming? You can contact DB Drumming at dbdrumming@hotmail.com or via Facebook

Musician Simone Gough runs Harmonie Group Facilitation, based in Cowra but also delivering live online (as well as in person) classes across the region in  Ukulele and Hand Drumming. She offers packs that include the actual instrument and instructional videos along with a live online lesson “to check and see how the students are going with learning the basics of their new instrument”.

Simone also offers ongoing classes throughout the year and one or two day workshops in school holidays. This summer kids can join ‘Hand Drums’ on January 12 or 26 for $50; ‘Ukulele’ Jan 5 or 26;  ‘Beginner Hand Drums’ Jan 4 or 18 includes an instrument pack, live lesson and instructional videos and costs $100; and Beginner Ukulele including an instrument pack, live lesson and instructional videos Jan 4 or 18, also $100.

Alongside this Simone runs community music groups, like the monthly group in Cowra (first Sunday of the month) for all ages and ability ($25 per session).

Simone has been accepting Creative Kids vouchers since they were first offered and finds them a great way to engage kids in music and an easy process for her and parents.

See Harmonie Group Facilitation’s upcoming classes and courses and contact Simone at harmoniegroupfacilitation@gmail.com / 0427 471 696.

Elaine Butler is creative director of Fun Time Art, based in the Lithgow area but working across a big area. They offer painting, drawing and general art and craft workshops for kids during school terms and school holiday times. They offer face to face classes and live online classes via zoom.

“Fun Time Art is all about exploring art and creativity in a positive, nurturing, inclusive and fun environment,” Elaine says.

Until the end of December Fun Time Art also has an option of Art Supply kits which include access to 10 online Tutorials. “We send out a box of art materials made for the lessons.” Elaine says.

See Fun Time Art or contact Elaine on 0400 489 129

Tip: Some providers switched to online-only during the lockdown days but plan to return to some face-to-face in 2022 if there is enough interest. Let them know you’re interested!

Start a life-long skill

One of the motivations of the Creative Kids program is to engage kids long-term in arts and creative activities.

The two biggest providers of music education in the NSW Central West are Mitchell Conservatorium (Lithgow, Bathurst, Parkes, Forbes) and Orange Regional Conservatorium. At Orange Con alone there’s over 1000 individual and group students enrolled at any one time.

Both offer music lessons and workshops to children of all ages with classes for preschool through to the young adults. All instruments (and music styles) are available.

“This opportunity to foster creativity in younger generations is vital work,” says MitCon’s Lauren Hagney. “We believe that the creative arts is something which needs to be prioritised for mental health, emotional growth and overall joy.”

“The cognitive benefits of creativity and music have been well documented, but after the past few years, we have seen an increase in the need for joy, positivity and creative space for wellbeing,” Lauren says.

James Buchannan at Orange Regional Conservatorium says the Creative Kids program has been a really successful way for local families to get into music lessons.

“It allows kids to gain access to music lessons who otherwise wouldn’t, it also can mean family have the resources to take in extra activates,” he says.

Mitchell Conservatorium classes resume January 31. Find our more

Orange Regional Conservatorium classes resume January 31. Find out more

Tip: Find other music schools and teachers on the Creative Kids providers list

So…

Of course there’s more than 100 other providers across the region that might have the perfect creative activity your kids can enjoy – although the truth is that not all activities are available face-to-face in all towns – but the program can only grow if parents support the small businesses and organisations that are the backbone of arts activities for kids in regional NSW.

Find a Creative Kids provider

Apply for vouchers here

Do you provide creative activities for kids? Find out more about becoming a provider

IMAGES: MAIN – Canva stock image; GALLERY – Simone Gough teaching student Oscar online; Simone Gough of Harmonie Group Facilitation; students learning at Mitchell Conservatorium; online learning with DB Drumming; Fun Time Art at Gang Gang Gallery Lithgow. 

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Maryanne Jaques

Maryanne Jaques job-shares the Communications Officer role at regional arts development organisation Arts OutWest and is a mum of two girls.

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