Hidden Gems Thurrock

Thurrock CVS were fortunate to be awarded funding from the Home Office’s ‘Building a Stronger Britain Together’ (BSBT) programme, which supports organisations in working to create more resilient communities.

Thurrock CVS teamed up with Creative Blast, and together gave people the opportunity to experience a number of different creative opportunities. The Hidden Gems project brought people together to share stories and conversations through the use of music, history, arts and culture. It encouraged people to identify common shared values of differing cultural backgrounds and how together they can inform community led solutions that are mutually beneficial.

The project helped to identify the gems or assets that are located within Thurrock’s communities, such as people, places, buildings, groups etc. Many of these may not always be known by other people in the community. 100 photographs were taken of people identifying their hidden gems, and these photos were used as part of an exhibition showcase.

The project aimed to reach individuals who felt marginalised or isolated from their local neighbourhoods or communities, and encouraged greater participation through the use of artist/community led workshops.


A brief summary and activities


  • A partnership was formed with other organisations in Thurrock sharing project values and supporting arts and culture in Thurrock.
  • A Community Conversation Festival was held in Grays to promote the start of the project, where volunteers and artists facilitated a series of workshops and activities, alongside performances,
  • Workshops were held using local artists including music, dance, spoken word, arts and culture supporting community cohesion. These enabled communities to experience various forms of arts and culture bringing communities together. These were held in various venues including community Hubs in Thurrock.
  • Surveys were completed through community conversations and online opportunities. These enabled people to discuss hidden Gems within communities.
  • Photographs were taken promoting community ‘Hidden Gems’ such as people, places, groups etc.
  • A community video was created as part of the evaluation process and record some of the workshops
  • A community poem was written using the words of local people by a spoken word artist as part of the workshops.
  • A further showcase event was held at the end of the project to celebrate the project outcomes and exhibit the hidden Gems photographs.


How did we do?

Hidden Gems helped to bring people together through sharing stories and conversations, using music, history, arts and culture. The project showcased a number of different artists and delivered multiple workshops to local people including Bollywood dancing, clay sculpting, drawing skills, painting, poetry, juggling, singing, memory box making and more.

For the May Day event we fused traditional Britain with Culture, incorporating May Pole dancing, Bollywood dancing and British and ethnic food together. The event was a great success which was enjoyed by many people from various ethnicities.

The project enabled us to work with many organisations including Batias, Lightship café, singing groups, Community Hubs, Salvation army, local schools and more.

The information gained through the project period will be used to plan future projects and opportunities to engage communities and the project has impacted other arts and culture projects in Thurrock.

The project has been identified as a great example of engagement and how conversations are so important in supporting social action. Information gained has been used in supporting other arts and culture projects in Thurrock and funding applications. The project enabled communities to identify common shared values of differing cultural backgrounds, and going forward, we would now like to work with communities to show how together they can inform community led solutions that are mutually beneficial.

Click here to view the community video and poem created through the project