For this arts based social prescribing programme, we chose to locate the hub of the activity in Dee Park because it is an area of social deprivation. It was funded by The Thriving Communities Fund and Catalyst Housing told us that a lot of the older people are experiencing even more socialisation than ever with the pandemic. We contacted the manager of a sheltered housing place Oak Tree House with an idea that instead of publicising widely we would target specific groups who we knew would benefit the most. We facilitated easily accessible nature inspired arts activities within the sheltered housing space. Artist Kate Lockhart from Thinklockhart and Nature Nurture director, Natalie, facilitated the session with residents and referred people via Social Prescribing Link Workers. We supported the social prescriber's wellbeing too (names changed).
It was really enjoyable. A special thanks to the time you spent with Sarah. It really helped her to feel more at ease, it was a really big event for her to come along and I don't think it would have gone so smoothly without your kindness, support and time. I too got a lot out of the session, in all honesty I woke up feeling a bit blue this morning and exhausted having not slept well, and whilst I'm still tired the feeling of blue has thankfully passed. So thank you!
With thanks, Mandy"
The manager of Oak Tree House helped publicise the activity and bring the residents on board. We also linked with Reading Voluntary Action social prescribers. About six of the people who came lived in the home and another six were prescribed. By opening the group to link workers accompanying service users, we were able to welcome people with complex conditions and high needs.
We provided arts activities in a relaxed, enabling space to suit the challenging mixed needs of attendees, amplifying the benefits and therapeutic integration for all participants. One of our Walk on a Wednesday group ladies Salma's Cake Time, has recently set up a little baking business, so we ordered homemade cake for our session at Oak Tree House.
“One lady spent the whole session leafing through the books which was absolutely fine. Through that session, I realised, yes, there's the activity, but a lot of the facilitation is around just being really kind and supportive and enabling anything, it's not so much about what they produce. It's just about being together and being supportive…"
Natalie, Nature Nurture Director