Our Work of Art: A community art project focused on inspiring older people as volunteers, to then support older frailer people as participants, in socially engaged, group creative practice.
The training team was from Kent Arts and Wellbeing, Espression Arts CIC supported by Dr Pat Chung, Senior lecturer in Occupational Therapy, Canterbury Christ Church University.
Two rounds of training were delivered in July and again in September 2018. The content and approach was evolved from the LAPWING project training, developed for Kent artists in 2016.
The training team:
- Developed 40 volunteers’ creative skills and heightened their occupational therapy insights and know-how to prepare them to support older people (one-to-one) in a group making activity in day care centre and community settings.
- Explained the important aspects of social care policy and safeguarding practice when working with vulnerable groups.
- Enhanced their knowledge of dementia, and how to engage effectively with people who have mild cognitive impairment and those who struggle with anxiety and depression and other chronic long-term illnesses and conditions.
- Provided an opportunity for volunteers to experiment and gain confidence and skills in working with diverse media.
- Offered techniques and tips to volunteers to motivate and inspire older people to individually paint their own ceramic mug and then ceramic tiles to make a vibrant, group participant-painted, ceramic mural.
Several of the team supported the volunteers before and during their creative delivery working with the older people by:
- Helping volunteers to define what they wanted to learn, and get out of the project experience overall, for them socially and creatively and in terms of engaging effectively with vulnerable and frail older people.
- Overcoming volunteers’ concerns and problems through session pre-briefing and post session individual and peer feedback.
- Giving personal one-to-one sessions where wanted or needed on what worked well, and could be done differently or better next time.
- Building the volunteers’ self-confidence, supporting them pastorally where needed.
- Supporting volunteers professionally in social care practice, their creative practice occupational therapy-focused development.
‘Our Work of Art – Creative Volunteer Network’
- A creative peer support network of volunteers was formed. This was set up in September 2018 driven by the motivation and interest of the volunteers. It has met monthly facilitated by Espression Arts CIC.
- These face to face meetings, supported by Kent Arts & Wellbeing, provide a valuable opportunity for volunteers to share and compare insights and experiences, which they never get the opportunity or time to do when volunteering. It offers friendly, structured but informal development context for the volunteers who give or invite in others to give short talks.
- Espression Arts CIC also set up, again by popular request, a private facebook group for sharing and learning.
THE PROJECT LEGACY
Highly motivated, upskilled volunteers, inspired to lead future quality group creative-making.
VOLUNTEER NETWORK SESSION