Forget bingo, knitting and gardening – life in this care home is not what you expect.
Care UK’s Sherwood Grange, in Kingston Vale, hosted a nude model for a life drawing class for residents to coincide with a month-long celebration of artistic creativity.
In this care home with a difference, residents are empowered to take up any activities they fancy – so when they requested the opportunity to draw a nude model, the care team immediately set to work to organise one.
Residents were asked what kind of model they preferred, and almost unanimously landed on a ‘nice handsome man’. A professional model - more used to working in artist’s studios - and meeting the residents’ criteria, was employed for the afternoon to pose for residents to get in touch with their creative side and bring his nude form to life. As part of the session, the residents at the home were given expert tuition from professional artist Robin Rutherford who teaches life drawing in a number of locations.
The residents are no strangers to artistic endeavours having already taken a trip to France to enjoy sketching and watercolour painting and several life drawing classes in the home and at the nearby Dorich House Museum.
The unusual activity took place to mark the end of a month-long festival that Care UK has sponsored, The Big Draw, which promotes drawing as a tool for learning, expression and invention. More than 60 of Care UK’s homes have taken part and, as the team and residents at Sherwood Grange have a special love for painting and drawing, it made sense for them to do something memorable to mark the end of the Big Draw festival.
Rick Mayne, home manager at Sherwood Grange, said: “Most people expect life in a care home to be a certain way – but here at Sherwood Grange we’re keen to ensure that there are no limitations and every day can be different and fun. Life in our care home is all about helping people to enjoy more independent and fulfilling lives – and today that meant expanding people’s experiences and doing something out of the ordinary.
“It’s fair to say we’ve never had a nude model at the home before - but based on the response we may well do again!
After the session, the twelve residents were full of praise for their art class. One said that she was impressed that it involved a professional model and tutor and that the session hadn’t been ‘dumbed down’ for them and another asked if they could repeat the session very soon with a different model and perhaps include a chance to try sketching with charcoal as well as pencil.
Robin Rutherford, artist, said: “I found the residents and team members at Sherwood Grange to be really welcoming and it was a privilege to work with a group of open minded people keen for new artistic experiences.”
This year Care UK partnered with The Big Draw, which has seen over 60 of its care homes take part across the UK. 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 theme celebrates the benefits of creative activities, especially drawing, on health and wellbeing. 2019 also marks the bicentenary of John Ruskin’s birth, founder of the Guild of St George, the charitable education trust behind the initiative.
Sherwood Grange is a state-of-the-art care home which provides full-time residential and dementia care, as well as short-term respite care. Designed to enable residents to live enjoyable and fulfilling lives, the care home has its very own cinema and hair salon, and there is plenty of space, both indoors and out, for relaxation and recreation.
Recognising the importance of artistic activities, Care UK was happy to become one of the lead sponsors for The Big Draw this year alongside organisations such as The Courtauld Institute of Art and the City of Toronto Museum. You can read more about Care UK’s national involvement here: thebigdraw.org/drawn-to-life-care-uk
To find out more about Sherwood Grange, please call home manager, Rick Mayne, on 0333 920 1017, or email Rick.Mayne@careuk.com
For more information about Care UK and The Big Draw, please visit careuk.com/care-homes/bigdraw
To find out more about the Big Draw festival, please go to thebigdraw.org