The Creating Communities Project began in April 2019 and aims to increase social connections and good mental health among people living in later life housing schemes in Hackney.
Since August 2019, we have had a partnership between the Mental Health Foundation and Anchor Hanover Housing. The work we have done includes facilitating weekly groups in retirement and extra care housing schemes, with a focus on creativity and getting outdoors. This has included individual and collective drawing and painting, as well as planting flowers and bulbs.
Since the lockdown started in the UK in March 2020, we have adapted our delivery to continue engaging people in creative expression during this difficult period of isolation. They have received packs with art materials for drawing, adding colour to images, and documenting different aspects of their experiences.
In keeping with this, we are organising One Day in Lockdown to encourage people to document their day creatively, but also capture the ways that they are being kind to themselves.
We gave people a template which included outlines of objects that represent four key aspects of many people’s day: a mug (for a cup of tea or coffee), a window (for a view of who or what is passing by); a screen (for what we’ve been watching on television) and a dinner plate (for what we’ve eaten for a meal).
To document your day, we asked people to draw and add colour to the template or take photographs of the items shown. Photographs of completed templates or the items themselves were returned directly to MHF or posted to Instagram, Twitter or Facebook with the hashtags #onedayinlockdown #KindnessMatters #MentalHealthAwarenssWeek.
The art created by project participants has now been collected in a community and online art exhibition. The exhibition in the community was presented in a series of panels displayed in a shop front window.
How you can get involved
Below you will find a link to download a template for One Day in Lockdown. It includes outlines of objects that represent four key aspects of many people’s day: a mug (for a cup of tea or coffee), a window (for a view of who or what is passing by); a screen (for what we’ve been watching on television) and a dinner plate (for what we’ve eaten for a meal).
Even as there is talk of easing or lifting lockdown restrictions, many people will remain at home out of choice or necessity. Our Creating Communities Project will be participating by completing these One Day in Lockdown drawings, as will students and teachers who are involved in our Peer Education Project (PEP) at MHF. We hope this can be an opportunity for some intergeneration conversations between grandparents and grandchildren about things that keep them going during lockdown. We want to also invite people across the UK and the world to join us and creatively document their day under lockdown conditions.
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Roshane is going to tell you about how creativity helped him to express his emotions. He will then share a list of creative activities you could do to help your own mental health.