A unique new initiative will see creative kits full of things to do delivered to 16,000 older people across Greater Manchester.
Even as restrictions around coronavirus continue to lift in England, many older people still face the prospect of being isolated at home for many weeks, particularly those who do not have access to the internet.
The Creative Care Kit contains a range of activities that can be completed at home using materials that are provided in a box, including an activity book, art supplies and a seed bomb.
There are more than 40 pages of activities from 25 organisations and groups including the People’s History Museum, Bury Met and Arc Stockport. Activities include music, writing, craft, horticulture and drawing.
Age-Friendly Greater Manchester Lead, Cllr Brenda Warrington said: “Despite the easing of lockdown we know many older people, especially those who aren’t online, are feeling isolated.
“We know how important and beneficial it is to have creative outlets, and don’t want older people to miss out on engaging activities which are shown to reduce anxiety and stimulate our minds. We hope these kits will create a sense of connection at a time when older people aren’t able to participate in normal face-to-face interactions with family, friends and social groups.”
Anita Draper, Arc volunteer & artist, and Stockport Culture Champion said: “Shielded, not forgotten….This pack has been put together with a great deal of careful thought to provide activities for them to enjoy even though they can’t attend their usual groups.”
David Milligan Croft, Stockport Culture Champion said: “I was genuinely inspired by the pack. There is something for all interests and abilities. I’ll definitely be trying quite a few of them.”
The kits will be assembled over the next week by more than 100 volunteers from businesses, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, cultural organisations and members of the pubic, working together in shifts at the University of Salford.
Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) is working together with the 10 Greater Manchester councils and 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 unique collaboration between arts organisations, charities, housing associations and businesses from across Greater Manchester including Stretford Public Hall, Cartwheel Arts, the Whitworth Art Gallery, the University of Salford, M6 Theatre Company and Bolton at Home who have worked together to create the kits.
The project has received support from Arts Council England, National Heritage Lottery Fund, National Lottery Community Fund and Ambition for Ageing. Businesses have also contributed by providing materials and services at a greatly reduced cost. These include Banner UK, TG Nuttall Packaging and Salford Design Studio.