Woodwork Project for Health and Wellbeing (2017)
Medway Ethnic Minority Forum received small grants from Involving Medway and organised 6 Woodwork sessions, from July to October 2017, attended by people aged 4-70 from various ethnic backgrounds, some adults with long-term mental health conditions and children with additional needs such as, ADHD and Autism.
It was truly an inter-generational, inclusive and multi-racial project, with volunteers receiving Time Credits for setting and clearing up, and helping the participants with making the finished products.
An end of project Art exhibition celebrated the achievements of the learners and volunteers.
The project involved engagement from not only local communities, but also from church groups, local councillors and service providers, like, Red Zebra, KMPT and Medway Time Credits.
"The tutors are very supportive and my son has enjoyed learning new skills and being creative! He very much looks forward to these sessions"
People accessed new activities for the first time, and this project promoted opportunities for creativity. Some of the learners have joined Tai Chi classes and a craft group in Rochester.
Improved mental health by building self-esteem and confidence. One needs to remember majority of these people are quite vulnerable and do not engage in mainstream provisions, and this project has provided them the opportunity to take part because it is delivered by people they know and feel safe with.
It was enjoyable to see both adults and young people learn together, able to pass on skills they have acquired, and feel being treated as equals.
Beneficiaries felt empowered as they were involved in the design and delivery of the project, accomplishing tasks that they initially felt to be challenging, gaining new skills and finally taking pride in their creations. This had profound impact on the emotional and personal development of the learners.
We recruited new volunteers, and developed peer support who are in regular contact even after the project has finished.
The project helped to reduce isolation by supporting residents to attend regular social/ community activities, providing vital companionship and emotional support, and improved access to support services.
Supported vulnerable people. Children with additional needs could to stay focused, follow instructions and not get easily distracted. One male adult, who suffers from low- esteem due to his Autism, found these sessions extremely beneficial because he could interact with new people for the first time, felt more confident, and has developed friendship with one of the volunteers who provides peer support.
Volunteers felt valued by earning Medway Time Credits
"Woodwork classes apart from learning basic skills was a good opportunity for social networking. We also enjoyed planning and delivering the Art exhibition."
Monitoring & Evaluation
Was this a new activity for you? 80% 'Yes'
Did this improve your physical / mental / emotional health? 100% 'Yes'
Are you accessing support services as a result of the project? 60% 'Yes'
Are you attending regular social/ community activities as a result of the project? 90% 'Yes'
Do you think the project made you more creative? 75% 'Yes'
Is this the first time you took part in arts activities? 80% 'Yes'
Do you have increased confidence/self-worth? 90% 'Yes'
Would you like to continue with Woodwork or other forms of creative arts? 100% 'Yes'
“The entire session was enjoyable and always looked forward to attending the next one. The tutors were very good and patient."