Home is where the heart is’ is a project bringing cheer to some of Canterbury’s older people who live in sheltered housing schemes or other care settings.
Lovely hand-crafted postcards have been illustrated and written by volunteers from the ‘Our Work of Art’ team, led by Catherine Arnell from Espression Arts CIC, supported by Kent Arts & Wellbeing (Fay Blair and Ken Scott). Beneficiary project partners are Age UK Canterbury and Age UK Herne Bay & Whitstable.
Among the first to receive their colourful cards are residents from the Old Farmhouse Care Home and the sheltered housing schemes Whitgift Court and Lang Court. Also to be included will be some older vulnerable people with their carers, some of whom previously attended day centre, or group sessions, at Age UK Herne Bay & Whitstable.
A small team of trained volunteers (in the ‘Covid-19 Daisy Chain’ method of remote access befriending) is encouraging each of their ‘postcard pen-pal’ residents to write back, using a simple post card template. Through this simple, traditional means, the volunteers are establishing rapport or are rekindling relationships, some which they formed in an earlier 2019 Our Work of Art creative programme.
Extra treats are in store too. Jill Fell one of the long-standing Our Work of Art project volunteers explained: “We thought it would be a lovely gesture in the lead up to Christmas to make and send each participant a personal Christmas card with a mini personal creative kit for them to make their own Christmas decoration”.
Into the New Year, the creative making will continue. A series of themed of ‘Our home is..’ activity sheets and linked personal creative kits will be delivered to the project participants.
Each volunteer will connect by phone and where possible, will support and encourage people to engage via tablets, online, via Zoom. They will be reaching out to people to talk about and share what they have made as part of the on-going friendly dialogue.
Fun, light-hearted conversations will also draw out what people value about their immediate home, environment and neighbourhood. Among the topics to be covered are: ‘Living life in full bloom’, ‘The sky’s the limit’, ‘Precious pets & cute creatures’, ‘Down on the farm’, ’Time for tea’, ‘You feel like home’ and ‘Home is where the heart is’.
The ‘Our Home is…..’ programme is funded by Canterbury City Council, Kent Community Foundation, Kent County Council and the Government-supported Coronavirus Community Support Fund, distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund. It will help many older, frailer people overcome some of the loneliness, anxiety and social isolation they are experiencing due to the direct and indirect impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The project back story can be seen here. www.kentartsandwellbeing.org.uk/news
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