Clay Kits Project - Chorlton & Whalley RangeProviding clay kits to local residents so that they might make a project in their own home.
Benefit of craft activities - pottery
Craft activities are particularly beneficial to older people and are recommended by NICE to promote independence and wellbeing in older people. Older adults who attend craft groups are less likely to have doctor-related visits and require less medication, resulting in cost-savings and reduced demand on health services. Craft groups help individuals build strong friendships, reducing social isolation and loneliness. Knitting has been shown to have benefits on multiple aspects of health including reducing depression and anxiety, slowing the onset of dementia, lowering blood pressure, reducing isolation and loneliness and increasing sense of inclusion in society.
Chorlton, Whalley Range and Fallowfield
To make connections with local residents, improve connections with organisations and provide a wellbeing activity for people at home.
“I enjoyed using clay to make an owl, it was absorbing and a medium I had not used for a long-time. The end result was far from perfect, but will be a good reminder of a difficult period when distractions were very welcome!” – Fallowfield resident
“ I have really enjoyed taking part in all of the activities which buzz have been bringing to me. If they were taken away from me I don’t know what I’d do.” – Chorlton resident
“I just loved the kit. I watch the Great British Pottery Throwdown and always fancied having a go. My first attempt was bad. But I just rolled it up and went back to it the next day. I squished the clay all back together. Which was great for getting my frustrations out. I took my time with the second attempt. I started to really feel the clay and appreciate how it could be transformed into something else. I noticed how the clay felt. I lost all sense of time. I was feeling calmer. The stressors of the day faded away. With my second attempt I forgot to keep some clay aside for the wings so it was a very strange looking owl. I was surprisingly excited when it when off for firing. When it came back I couldn't wait to see it. I was pleased that it didn't collapse. But it was very strange looking without wings. But I'm so proud of it. Its on display in my sitting room. I plan to jazz it up by drawing on wings and feathers. I might even apply a bit of glitter. I would love to try another kit.” – Whalley Range resident
“The Clay Kit project was a wonderful idea and I thoroughly enjoyed being involved. I did it in collaboration with my grand daughter, with whom I was bubbling. It was good company and we had a hilarious time laughing at our mistakes and wondering what it would look like at the end. I found it relaxing and felt a sense of achievement on completion. I highly recommend the project.” – Chorlton resident
“I just wanted to say thank you for the chance to do a clay kit. I was doing a ceramics course in person until it was sadly closed down due to Covid. I was really keen to get back into something creative and struggled to choose only one kit to do! I actually did the kit on a day I was struggling with low mood and feeling really isolated as a person living alone, especially during the festive period. I found the instructions simple to follow. I had to persevere as the clay was tricky at times to handle, it felt all worthwhile though when the finished bowls were dropped back to me. I love the colours and the bowls turned out much better than I was expecting considering I'm an almost total beginner. Thanks to Laura for going out of her way to organise the project.” – Fallowfield resident.
“Working with the clay was great fun, a brilliant distraction plus giving a sense of achievement. It was good to have a specific time scale with a deadline, this became a highly motivating factor for me. Thank you very much for including me in this project, I thoroughly enjoyed it” – local resident
As we were promoting something quite different we caught the attention of lots of people and made good connections both with new residents and organisations. As we had to drop the kit off with the residents, collect and then drop back the finished item, it provided at least three opportunities for doorstep conversation where I was able to see what else they might be interested in and link them to other groups / activities. Most people also completed a community questionnaire which will help us link them into appropriate groups /activities in the future.
Strategic links to local/national policies
Increased mental wellbeing
Reduce social isolation
Reducing demand on services
Helping people age well
All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing Inquiry Report (2017) - Creative Health: The Arts for Health and Wellbeing
Burt, E. L. and Atkinson, J. (2012) The relationship between quilting and wellbeing, Journal of Public Health, Volume 34, Issue 1, Pages 54–59.
Cohen, G. (2009) New theories and research findings on the positive influence of music and art on health with ageing. Arts & Health, 1:1, 48-62.
Knit For Peace – The Health Benefits of Knitting
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). (2015). Older People: Independence and Mental Wellbeing. London: NICE.
Laura Cassidy - Neighbourhood Health Worker
T. 07818 522 978
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