We are an arts & well-being group for the elderly alleviating social isolation in this rural valley. We meet once a week for 2 hours to work with 3 visual artists and other community groups e.g. schools, care homes, day centres etc on different arts projects. This 12-week project sees the group working with Holmfirth Junior & Infant school to prepare and plant up their raised beds on their new allotment. They will also decorate up some large terracotta pots with mosaics, then plant them up with colourful floral displays & offer them to local venues: library, cafe's... to brighten up the local area. Sessions include working with The Bridgewood Trust in Armitage Bridge (day care centre for adults with learning difficulties) and Enfield Down (a residential unit for adults recovering from mental illness), also the general public. They will also make lotions and creams from locally found plants to appreciate what can be done with locally found native flora.
What we'll deliver:
- Prepared & planted up raised beds at Holmfirth Junior & Infant school s new allotment
- Large terracotta pots decorated with mosaics & planted up then distributed & brightening up the local valley
- The elderly interacting with children and other vulnerable groups
Why it's a great idea:
The project will for 12 weeks help reduce social isolation and improve the mental health of elderly members in the Sharing Memories Group. Some members live on their own & do not otherwise not see anyone or get out all week. After additional forced isolation with Coronavirus, it will be a much needed project to get the elderly back socialising.
The way we work also improves social cohesion, bringing together different generations within the valley that would not normally interact. It brings them confidence and a feeling of usefulness.
Children will learn how to grow plants - both vegetables and flowers, preparing the soil & nurturing plants. Both children and adults will learn to appreciate how plants were and still can be used today to make useful lotions, hand creams etc.
The valley will also benefit as the school children of future years will continue to use the allotment beds and the mosaic pots with floral displays will brighten the valley over the summer months of 2020.
Steps to get it done:
- Filling the raised beds at the school with Hugelkulture materials
- Sowing & planting up the raised beds
- Finding, identifying plants and flowers in the locality of the school
- Drawing the plants & flowers and designing the mosaic pots
- Hand creams and lotions - learning how to make them from natural ingredients
- Making the mosaic pots
- Planting up the mosaic pots with the general public
- Trip to Grow Penistone to see organic horticulture run by a voluntary organisation
The raised beds will be created using Hugelkultur, an efficient method to ensure no watering is needed. This will be taught by one of the artists who runs a local homestead & is trained in this method of horticulture. Children will learn about growing their own produce and healthy eating. The project gets all participants out into nature & the environment, helping the well-being and mental health.of all. One session includes a wild forage woods walk so children learn to identify what is safe and useful.
The general public will also be invited to one of the sessions to help plant up the mosaic pots and suggest/decide where the finished pots should go. This again will help inter-generational community cohesion.
The project will finish with a celebration picnic to visit Grow Penistone, a local sustainable food growing community, a charity run entirely by volunteers. This will be a valuable outing and experience for all participants.