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Social isolation project is a work of art

14 March 2016

Creative retirement living residents in Newcastle-under-Lyme are celebrating the success of a project that recreated their prize possessions through the power of art.

Over the past two months, local artist Jim Morris has been visiting Sanctuary Housing’s Waveney Court and talking with residents while drawing their personal items and family heirlooms.

With the project complete, the finished artwork has been painted onto a series of mugs, which have been given to the residents as a memento.

The project was set up as a way to combat social isolation by engaging people in conversation, with Jim offering residents the opportunity to get involved in creative activities of their own, such as the chance to try their hand at drawing skills.

A number of works have been produced, depicting items ranging from golden lockets and coal figurines to a tankard depicting a monk and – fittingly – one lady’s prize mug.

Waveney Court’s residents got involved as well, creating drawings of their own, with some keeping them for themselves while several passed them on to family members and a number donated them for a folder of artwork for communal viewing at the scheme.

Scheme manager, Amanda Stevenson, said: “This project has been a fantastic success, thanks to Jim’s ability to connect with our residents and encourage them to open up.

“The artwork has been a real talking point at Waveney Court and provides a legacy for our residents and their own life stories.

“Projects like this are great for bringing our residents together and supporting them to live happy and fulfilled lives.”

Jim said: “When I first asked the folks at Waveney Court what their 'favourite things' were and if I could draw them, I expected there would be some interesting replies.

“What I wasn't expecting was the fascinating range of objects (and accompanying stories) that they were willing to share. It was also a pleasure to see how keen people were to make their own drawings.”

The residency was part of a wider Living Arts Room Programme taking place in retirement homes and care settings across the Staffordshire area, and was managed by Creative Health Community Interest Company with support from Staffordshire County Council.

Jim’s residency at Waveney Court will be used by Creative Health as a model of good practice to promote the use of professional artists in care settings.

The project was funded by Sanctuary’s Community Investment Fund, supporting projects which benefit Sanctuary residents and their communities.


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