What is the Big Draw?
Launched in 2000 as part of the ‘Campaign for Drawing’, the Big Draw promotes drawing as a tool for learning, expression and invention, and has encouraged over four million people to get arty since its inception. This year’s event, sponsored by Care UK among others, is centred around the theme ‘drawn to life’, which celebrates the benefits of creative activities, especially drawing, on health and wellbeing. This year also marks the bicentenary of John Ruskin’s birth, founder of the Guild of St George, the charitable education trust behind the initiative.
How is Care UK getting involved?
Throughout October, more than half of Care UK’s 120 homes are teaming up with schools, nurseries and groups of young people to work with residents to get their creative skills down to a fine art.
Woodland Hall, in Stanmore, and Buchanan Court, in Harrow, are working alongside local schools to create ‘communication cards’ for residents living with dementia, featuring emotions, wishes and life stories, while Winchcombe Place, in Newbury, will welcome a nursery and a local artist for a special workshop.
Meanwhile, in Colchester, Silversprings will be getting some special help from nursery children and visitors to create a timeline of residents’ lives.
Why is Care UK taking part in the Big Draw Festival?
Drawing, combined with the power of intergenerational relationships, can have multiple benefits for older people, especially those living with dementia.
Suzanne Mumford, Care UK’s dementia expert, explained why creative activities are important for residents or younger people alike: “We are very proud to sponsor the 2019 Big Draw Festival. Arts are an essential part of life in our care homes, and I’ve seen first-hand how drawing and painting can bring satisfaction and pride to older people. Using art materials can also be a powerful reminiscence activity for people living with dementia – prompting long forgotten skills and bringing memories into focus.
“The Big Draw initiative really resonates with our activity-based approach to care and provides fantastic opportunities for us to invite younger people into the home to showcase their artistic skills.
Intergenerational relationships are proven to be enriching for both older and young alike –residents love meeting young people and the events we have planned will offer a chance for children and residents to learn from each other.”
Art in action – Appleby House’s art studio
Appleby House, in Epsom, is a prime example of how Care UK encourages home teams and residents to embrace the arts. Earlier this year, the home launched a brand-new art studio, which residents are now benefitting from. This is also thought to be the first care home with its own artist-in-residence, Karen Whelton from Creative Minds.
Judy, a resident at the home, sometimes had difficulties to communicate, but the Appleby House team started to notice positive changes when the art studio opened. She became more focused, and now confidently talks about the colours and textures in her work.
With Karen’s support, the Appleby House team also hosts regular arts classes for the community, including local schools, and staged its own music festival last year, while always displaying the residents’ art work around the home.
Getting involved – useful links
To find out more about the Big Draw and how you can get involved, visit thebigdraw.org/organise-an-event
The Care UK ‘Easy as ABC’ guide offers advice about getting the most out of every day, and suggests activities suitable for those living with dementia such as baking and arts and crafts. The guide can be downloaded free of charge from the Care UK website. Many homes will still have paper copies for those who prefer to pop in and pick one up.