Inspired by the Great Exhibition of the North, residents in a Gateshead housing scheme have opened the doors to the idea of getting creative.
Working with professional artists for the last year they’ve turned their hand to textile, ceramics and script writing, all while getting to know one another better.
Joining them at weekly sessions, led by professional artists, have been pupils and staff from Lobley Hill Primary School in Rothbury Gardens.
In March pupils, staff and residents came together at the venue, run by Castles and Coasts Housing Association, to officially open the exhibition space and celebrate their work.
Gone are the empty walls of the lounge at Cragside Court, with self-portraits and handcrafted stories giving visitors an insight into those living in the sheltered housing scheme.
Shelia, who lives at the setting, said: “I have loved working with the children on our arts and crafts projects.
“They have such a good imagination and confidence which has also given me the confidence to mix with different people and also to try and do the different sessions which I never thought I could do.”
Erin Smith is a teacher at the nearby school. She said: “The children have had the most incredible time working along the residents.
“They’ve have grown not only academically but socially. Being able to create pieces of English and art in a practical and interesting way has helped them flourish.”
The £10,000 project, made possible with funding from Awards for All, has been supported by Equal Arts as we work to bring creative opportunities to older people.
Equal Arts’ Poppy Crawshaw has been supporting the group. She said: “It was fantastic to have the groups get together and see their work, framed and displayed for all to see. Having your work exhibited helps add value to what you’ve achieved.
“There has been real progress within the group with them trying ceramics, script writing and textiles – many for the first time.”
To find out more about Equal Arts or to volunteer and support our creative sessions visit www.equalarts.org.uk, ring 0191 261 1619 or email firstname.lastname@example.org