“We believe that creativity is a very powerful tool. The act of creating and sharing work in these sessions gives the people who attend a way in which to communicate worries, express interests, engage with others, promote self confidence and self worth and most importantly it can be used as form of escapism, a place to release tensions and worries.”
My name is Jesse. I have worked with United Response for 5 years, creating and running activities.
The most important part of my job is setting up and creating activities that not only engage the people we support but enhance their quality of life. A big part of this is the social and emotional connections and support that people access when attending our sessions.
The Lockdown meant we were no longer able to offer this in our usual way.
Knowing how much the people we support value social connections, engagement and routine. Myself and colleagues had to come up with ways in which to deliver our activities online.
One of the sessions that has been really successful has been our Friday art groups.
At first I was nervous about how delivering sessions on zoom. I was worried about how accessible the sessions would be and if people would be able to access materials.
With this in mind I tried to think of fun sessions that would be accessible and would involve using things people would have in their homes. As the weeks progressed the sessions started to develop, I started running sessions much like I would have if we were in our usual setting.
“Arts and crafts keep the guys stimulated, it is really important to see and chat to each other”
Each week I will email a topic and a small list of equipment; usually just pens and paper. I will also attach handout of colouring and worksheets so there is a variety of differentiated materials so that everyone can access the session. In the session I talk about an artist or an artistic style and then the group create work responding to this, during the session we listen to music and then take regular breaks to show each other our work and talk.
The best thing about these online sessions is that people from other services across the organisation are able to join. This is exciting as both myself and the people we support are able to make new connections and friendships all over the country.
“It’s good to see my friends I would be upset and sad if I couldn’t see people. I like doing art on Friday the best!”
Each week we look at an artist and/or style of art. I will give the group some information about it and we will have a discussion. Then the group will make work in response to what we have looked at.
So far we have covered; pop art, pointillism, collage, puppets, illustration, paper cuts and portraiture. We have looked at the work of; Andy Warhol, Richard Hamilton, Leonardo da Vinci, Matisse, and Georges Seurat.
“Thanks for this afternoon’s session, I haven’t heard Dylan laugh so much since the lockdown began! Dylan loves his United Response art group, and thinks it is very interesting to make art. Of the artists he has learned about, his favourite is Basquiat.”