Everyday creativity with rough sleepers
People + opportunity + creativity = better health
Everyday Creativity targeted ex rough sleepers in Hastings and Eastbourne, living in temporary accommodation through lockdown. The ambition was to support people to develop their talents and interests and enable others to try activities for the first time.
Facilitators included Sam Dook, Marina Perryman and Hayley Savage for Resonate and Lucy Cobb, Elizabeth Doak and Claire Shoosmith for ESP.
Both projects started by offering scheduled sessions in community spaces. Engagement was difficult and plans soon changed to offering more informal taster sessions in spaces that people were already visiting.
Every RSI service user has very complex and multiple needs, such as a history of trauma, poor mental health and/or substance misuse, and often lead chaotic lives. It can be challenging to engage this group in their routine care and support, let alone something completely different.
“I love how playing piano feels; the way the minor and major chords give things meaning. I haven't played for years but I'd really like to. I'll be here next week. If you can help to teach me, I'd like that” Participant
Resonate musicians responded to participants’ interests, this ranged from learning how to play an instrument, discussions about music, jamming with the facilitators to composing and producing an original track. In time sessions were offered 1-1 and in small groups. One participant produced an original track using music production software. Within the track, she performs the cello, strings, vocal, beat selection, percussion and selected the chords and harmonies. The only instrument that a music leader played on the track was the guitar.
Eastbourne Studio Pottery brought a range of materials and equipment along to The Citadel in Eastbourne, to enable people to explore a variety of media and techniques including printing, painting, experimental photography and pottery. Some participants and staff also came to ESP’s own studio space.
“In the studio I could see clients really focus for a long period, I was over the moon seeing the client who suffered from anxiety and paranoia start to chit chat with the tutor ... Seeing his own sense of accomplishment, every session doing something better, seeing him set himself goals. I was watching someone who was doing nothing with their time now setting goals.” Key worker
The key worker also reported one participant’s feedback about the project:
“This is what I need for my life, I need to get back on track, this is what I love.” Participant
Another participant, who took part in an interview, illustrated the positive impact the work has had on their mental health:
“Well for my mental health it’s been good, yeah. I’ve had problems with alcohol and stuff so to get me doing something that you know, to fill my time is very positive and I’m close to beating that demon...”
In Hastings, Eastbourne Studio Pottery involved participants in making a geocache (pictured at the top) which tells something of their story and is part of England’s Creative Coast Geotour.