- ‘Our home is…. where the heart is ….’ Is an exciting community art outreach project, with an intergenerational element
- The structure of the project has had to be adapted to meet the constraints of the pandemic.
- It is bringing cheer to some of Canterbury’s older people who live in sheltered housing schemes or other care settings.
- Since April 2020 Kent Arts and Wellbeing have been supporting Espression Arts CIC (as the creative lead).
- The beneficiary partners are Age UK Canterbury and Age UK Herne Bay & Whitstable.
- The theme of ‘Our Home is..’ naturally embraces things to do with people’s daily routines, lives and their immediate environment.
- An aim was to see what matters most to older people about their sense of home, neighbourhood and environment and to find out what they appreciate (and what they miss), particularly heightened during the Covid-19 lockdown periods.
- Different aspects covered were ‘Living life in full bloom’, ‘The sky’s the limit’, ‘Precious pets & cute creatures’, ‘Down on the farm’, ’Time for tea’,’ and ‘Home is where the heart is’.
- The aim is to capture and express thoughts and feelings through creative means. Using door step visits and creative kits, people were guided and supported to create and make small items.
- These are being gathered and put together by the project volunteers to form beautifully crafted wall hangings/ banners
- The ‘Our Home is..’ banners will go display for all to enjoy and admire in the various care settings , particularly for the people who contributed to making them.
- This project approach built on the project methods and protocols developed through the earlier Daisy Chain (Covid-19) project.
- Online training for volunteers to support new or inexperienced users of things digital is in progress.
- While building people’s confidence and competence in using online means of communication is important, the overwhelming demand has been for face-to-face door-step meetings
- The change in delivery from group sessions to individual working supported by doorstep visits has been highly successful. Beneficiaries have valued the weekly doorstep visits and the individual approach has meant that we have learnt so much more about individuals and been able to develop a more person centred response.
- An intergenerational dimension is an important part of this project.
- An environmental dialogues survey has been devised to capture this information to see what similarities and differences there are between the perspectives of older people and the younger student generation.
- The team will be arranging events to share older people’s views and experiences on ‘Our Home is’ with a small group of students from Canterbury Christ Church University (Occupational Therapy).
As the project nears its end, we have achieved a creative and Covid-19 safe approach that has generated
- Connectivity to boost morale and wellbeing achieved through letter and postcard writing, and then when circumstanced permitted, supervised one-to-one doorstep visits to older people at their care or home settings.
- Creative opportunities with activity sheets and individual crafting kits, relevant to the overarching theme of ‘Our Home is’.
- Positive distraction, stimulation and enjoyment with a positive focus for ongoing conversations for all the participants.
- A strong sense of social purpose for the volunteers as well as boost (mood uplift) for the participants.
End of project celebrations
- At the conclusion of the project in May/June 2021 there are plans to organise celebratory events.
- The talks and other sessions will be: to share the creative work; the rich ‘our home is’ insights; celebrate the many friendships that have formed; and the wider project learning.
- The end of project engagement events may be online but it is hoped that some face-to-face, socially distanced group contact will be possible.
Age UK, Canterbury, Espression Arts , Kent Arts and Wellbeing
Canterbury City Council, Kent Community Foundation