Carers Given Creative Outlet In Wimbledon

Professional artist works with local carers

Adult carers in Merton are being given the chance to work with a professional artist and to produce a book of their own work during special workshops in Wimbledon.

The award-winning charity Create is taking its creative:voices project to Wimbledon, enabling a group of carers to work with its professional artist Daniel Wallis.

These carers look after a family member with a long-term illness or disability, whether a daughter with severe mental health issues or an elderly parent with dementia.

gives them well-deserved time out and an opportunity to explore and develop their creative talents. Through the project, carers from Carers Support Merton come together at Drake House in St George's Road, Wimbledon in a friendly, supportive and creative environment. 

Under the guidance of Create's artist, the carers use a variety of illustrative techniques including collage, photography and Photoshop to illustrate the poems and stories they composed in the first section of the project, a series of creative writing workshops with award-winning poet and novelist Cheryl Moskowitz. Their work will be printed in a book that showcases the writing and artwork side-by-side.

Harriet, aged 56, has been coming to Carers Support Merton for 12-13 years. Her son has autism.

She said: "I started attending Carers Support Merton for support reasons, really, so I knew that I would be linked with people who happen to be in a similar situation. There is the opportunity here to learn from each other by knowing each other and an opportunity for friendships with other families with special needs/issues.

"My son has autism, which means he does need/has needed in the past, quite a bit of supervision and organisation because his autism has meant that he is less able than mainstream children to cope with his own life. Finding things for him to do in the holidays is more complex than it would be for people who have children who are “normal”. It's quite useful to be here and to get information, which I would not otherwise know about.

"I was told about the creative:voices project by Shelley and she asked if I would like to join it.  The workshops have been very high quality; and this is the first one I've attended over consecutive weeks and I'm very impressed with how organised it has been. I can't speak too highly of it actually.

"I haven't done anything like this project before. It has made me realise that, even after so many years of having so many commitments with our children, it is still possible for us to do stuff like this! It's a confidence builder and you know it's very welcome in our lives. At least it is for me.  If another project like this comes up I’ll be going.

"Create's artists have given us a great deal of encouragement, and they have given us all these strategies for knowing and learning how to make a children's book. Actually to be able to try it out for yourself, make a book of your own, very useful. My story is about a king in his castle and the servant he employs to make him a fish pie. The king and the servant eventually get married. The story came about from a picture in a magazine somewhere, of a castle and a lake. It all began there.

"What I've loved about the project is that it's so diverse and there is such a scope for your own individual creative thinking.  It's also really good to work with someone else and share their ideas - their ideas are good for you and your ideas might be good for them. The workshops give me a sense of satisfaction because you end up with something that you have actually devised and created yourself, along with the other person you have been working with. It's rewarding.

"Projects like this are really important because we all get together, not necessarily to talk to each other but to do something really useful like this. It gives us an objective. Some people are creative, some people have talents they didn’t know they have. I think that all these projects should be really encouraged everywhere where there are people who perhaps don't find it that easy.  I know you [Create] actually do a lot of this work in organisations such as old people's homes or rehab centres. It gives people something different to do and an opportunity to discover new talents. I just think that's a really worthy cause, as a charity."

March 4, 2015

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A poem written by one of the carers:

Reflections of life

Some days are like being on a mountain then descending into a dark ravine,
Like being on the wobbly bridge
Feeling outside one's comfort zone.
Care takes different directions: It’s the same as a map
Travelling into unknown elevations and depressions of the land
Glimpses of new horizons.
Emotions overwhelming
Exhilarating experiences that hold us together,
Like floating in a hot air balloon
Viewing the landscape in miniature
Landing with a bump in Memory Farm.
Beautiful lake looks inviting
Plunge into cold ponds, shuddering cold
Returning to the here and now
A strong bond of care
And love that binds us together,
Forever in overwhelming love and protection
Preserving everything that we hold dear
Like being guardians of our country
Keeping green spaces parks and costal paths
For future generations.