Tag Archives: creativity

The Benefits of Arts and Crafts

watercoloursWhen some people hear the word ‘art’, they may think of classrooms filled with children wielding paintbrushes or pompous ‘artistes’ in front of empty canvases. But for carers, art means so much more than just paint; it’s about expressing creativity, getting out of the house, and doing something new.

A recent study shows that art can “improve well–being by decreasing negative emotions and increasing positive ones”, showing the amazing benefits of creative activities. Art has even been shown to reduce the chances of depression, stress and anxiety, because it increases positive emotions while reducing distress.

According to the study, carers who engage with our art groups may also see “improvements in flow and spontaneity, expression of grief, positive identity, and social networks”. Social networks are so crucial in fighting isolation, which so many carers struggle with due to their caring role.

At the Carers’ Centre, we are highly aware of the health benefits art therapy can provide, which is why we hold regular Art breaks for both young and adult carers. We run an arts group every other Wednesday for our Young Carers, who have the chance to explore creative mediums such as photography, clay and paint. Over half term our Young Carers enjoyed a drama and storytelling workshop; a more physical way to express fresh ideas and creativity.

For adults, our current breaks programme is filled with arty groups, where carers can explore a huge variety of different art styles and techniques. We have a watercolour painting course, willow weaving, pottery, glass blowing and patchwork all coming up in the next three months, so there is truly something for everyone.

If you’re a carer and would like to take part in these groups, or if you want to donate so we can keep supporting carers through art projects, please call our centre at 01761 431388.

‘January Trees’ – Our latest Arts Award evening

art-therapy-career2It’s hard to believe it’s been a whole week since our last Arts Award meeting with our amazing Young Carers! This fortnightly art club takes place at Woodlands and allows Young Carers aged 5-11 to explore loads of different creative mediums, including photography, clay modelling and painting.

As usual, there was a whirlwind of noise and glitter with our young carers chatting away about their Christmas while drawing what presents they got in the holidays. Once again the kids had a good laugh at my drawing skills (which even I admit are non-existent) before we had a break, where the kids enjoyed a huge game of hangman.

Then we got started on our latest project – designing a calendar which will go on sale in 2017. The kids will spent all year perfecting 12 pictures, one for each month of the year. It was so cool to see the kids enthuse about what colours they could use and design the coolest looking ‘January trees’ I’ve ever seen. The best part of this project is that next Saturday we’re taking the kids on a trip to the forest to capture some pictures of trees in January, to practice their photography skills and get some cool pictures for the calendar.

Sometimes as adults it’s easy to forget how tiny things like a game of hangman with your friends, a walk through the forest or the chance to draw freely can be so great, and it’s always lovely to see Young Carers in particular having this much fun, especially given their tough home lives. Their resilience always amazes me and makes me want to work with them even more. Can’t wait for next week’s session!

Growing Creativity – Our Young Carers ‘Arts Award’ Evening

The logo for the nationwide 'Arts Award' project our Young Carers are taking part in
The logo for the nationwide ‘Arts Award’ project our Young Carers are taking part in

Last night was my first experience of our ‘Arts Award’ – an after-school club for young carers held in our very own Woodlands building. We run two arts award clubs on a fortnightly basis, one for children aged 5-11 and one for young adult carers aged 14-17. This gives young carers the chance to get away from their caring role and enjoy a creative space with other kids who are just like them.

First up was a manic half hour where the children worked on their art books; some drew pictures while others stuck in photos. That sounds simple enough, but with seven of them all working on different things and shouting at each other it got hectic pretty fast! Then we had a quick snack before delving into our main activity: a photo quiz.

Steve (our young carers’ officer) had taken pictures of objects around our Woodlands building and the kids had to take exactly the same pictures, trying to copy the original image as close as possible. Every single detail had to match, which was hard to achieve when half of them were bouncing around the place! It really challenged our young carers to find the objects, achieve the right angle and stand still enough to take a non-blurry pic. Finally, we had a quick run through of the pictures, chose a winner, and the kids went home happy, leaving us with the clearing up!

Despite the mayhem had such a fun time, and the children clearly got a lot out of their activities – it’s so great to put a smile on the faces of young children going through a really hard time. Can’t wait till the next one!