Creative Care Kits have been distributed to 16,000 older people across Greater Manchester as part of an initiative to combat loneliness and inspire creativity during lockdown.
Many older people have faced extreme isolation during lockdown, separated from their friends and families for months on end. Even as restrictions are beginning to be relaxed many older people struggle with loneliness, especially those without internet access.
The Creative Care Kits are designed to help combat isolation and contain a range of activities that can be completed at home using materials that are provided in a box. The box includes an activity book, art supplies and a seed bomb and cater for a wide range of abilities and interests from music and craft to horticulture and writing.
100 of the kits were handed out to older people at the Grafton Centre, a Health and Wellbeing Community Centre in Hyde, when it reopened last week with visitors at various times of the day.
Brenda Torr from Denton said: “I enjoyed the puzzles and quizzes in the book, and it gave me something else to do other than watch the TV. There is a space to write down my feelings in lockdown, so I can look back when I meet all my friends again.”
Doreen Brown from Hyde said: “I am a crafty person by nature, and I enjoyed the things in this pack that I could do at home. I haven’t finished everything yet so I’ve more to look forward to until things get back to normal.”
Pat Wheeler from Hyde said: “It was great to be back; I really have missed my friends. I was surprised to be given the pack on the Monday and I have found it useful as something to do until I can go to the Grafton again on Friday.”
Anne-Marie Lancashire from Newton said: “I love this pack. It’s not nice living on my own with only the television for company and I’ve found myself thinking of all sorts of things, some not nice. This pack has given me something pleasant to focus on when I am at home until I can go to the Grafton again next week.”
The kits are a collaborative project assembled by more than 100 volunteers from businesses, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, cultural organisations and members of the public, working together in shifts at the University of Salford. They contain more than 40 pages of activities provided by 25 organisations and groups such as Gallery Oldham, Arc Stockport and the People’s History Museum.
Greater Manchester Combined Authority is working together with the 10 Greater Manchester councils and other organisations based in the boroughs to identify who will receive the kit and how it will reach them.
The project has been made possible through a collaboration between charities, arts organisations, housing associations and businesses across Greater Manchester including Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester Museum, Royal Exchange Theatre, The Lowry, the University of Manchester and Whitworth Art Gallery.
The project has received support from Arts Council England, National Heritage Lottery Fund, National Lottery Community Fund and Ambition for Ageing. Businesses, such as Banner UK and TG Nuttall Packaging, have also contributed by providing materials and services at a greatly reduced cost.
If you are interested in becoming a member at The Grafton Centre, it is currently open on Mondays and Fridays between 10am and 2pm.