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Young at art – live art class draws interest at local care home

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Residents at a care home in Stansted picked up their pencils for a very special online event with a professional artist as part of The Big Draw Festival 2020.

Care UK’s Mountfitchet House, on Coltsfield, joined illustrator and author Gary Andrews for an exclusive live drawing workshop centred around endangered animals, organised virtually in partnership with The Big Draw.

Young at art – live art class draws interest at local care homeAs part of the session, residents and team members were able to watch Gary, Ambassador for The Big Draw and a former Disney illustrator, as he drew a variety of endangered animals, including koalas, polar bears, puffins and sea turtles, while he explained various drawing techniques, such as shading and under-drawings. At the end of the session, residents were invited to ask questions and submit requests.

Launched in 2000 as part of the ‘Campaign for Drawing’, the month-long Big Draw Festival promotes drawing as a tool for learning, expression and invention, and has encouraged over four million people to get arty since its inception. ‘A Climate of Change’, this year’s theme, focuses on the relationship between people and their environment, and offers a great opportunity for older people to reminisce about their favourite nature spots, as well as trips to the great outdoors in their younger years, and how our focus looking after our planet has changed in recent years. 

Gary, who is also an ambassador the Big Draw, said: “Hosting a live drawing session via Zoom was a unique and incredibly moving experience, and it was a pleasure to meet residents and team members at Mountfitchet House. Everyone can draw, all it takes is to pick up a pencil – it’s not about perfection, it’s about doing something enjoyable, and I think this session perfectly illustrated that.”

Jane Maxwell, Home Manager at Mountfitchet House, said: “The Big Draw was a huge success, and residents were thrilled to be able to benefit from Gary’s knowledge and enthusiasm.  

“Creative activities play a big part of life here at Mountfitchet House, and we actively encourage residents to continue lifelong arty hobbies and try new expressive pastimes. Drawing has a variety of benefits for older people, especially those living with dementia, as it provides an alternative way to communicate and express emotions, and an opportunity to relive happy memories.

“Gary was a fantastic host and always made sure to explain the techniques he was using, often adding even more examples to illustrate, and sharing his top tips with residents. It was a fantastic drawing session, and everyone left with a smile on their face – we’re all looking forward to getting our pencils out again very soon!”

After a successful participation in the Big Draw Festival last year, Care UK renewed its partnership in 2020, becoming the main health and social care partner and leading the way in changing perceptions of life in a care home by promoting activity-based care and encouraging other care homes to follow suit. Across the country, more than 70 homes have been getting arty and working with their local communities virtually to create works of art around the theme ‘A Climate of Change’.

Mountfitchet House is a state-of-the-art care home which provides full-time residential, nursing and dementia care, as well as short-term respite care.

For more information on Mountfitchet House, please call customer relations manager, Laura Cook, on 01279 883849, or email

To find out more about Care UK’s partnership with the Big Draw, and for more top tips on how you and your loved ones can get involved at home, visit

To find out more about the Big Draw festival, please go to

Open to new residents

Coltsfield, Stansted, Essex, CM24 8LH

Mountfitchet House

CQC Rating: Outstanding
  • Residential care
  • Dementia care
  • Nursing care
  • Respite care
  • End of life care
  • Nursing dementia care
  • Day club

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