The Craft of Caring asked carers, ‘What does it mean to be a carer?’ and helped them find time for them self in a restorative craft activity.
In early 2019, participants created patches for a collective large scale sculptural artwork: a nest. They had opportunities to contribute in a group or on their own, with the person they care for or independently. Our artists offered over 50 free art workshops across Mid-Devon.
“My initial reaction (to reading about the project) is relief and validation as a carer that something so meaningful and nourishing is out there. It is BY FAR the best outreach to carers I’ve ever seen.” An unpaid carer from mid-Devon
Unpaid carers with no creative experience created artwork alongside professional artists – who also brought unpaid caring experience.
An exhibition – The Care Trail – during CredFest 2019 and Carers Week 2019 – showcased their work in community spaces – and achieved over 6000 audience members in rural mid-Devon – where there are 8000 residents.
Artists, participants, and community members also contributed to a series of 7 videos about ‘What it means to care’ and the impact of art activities and shared art activities. These are available on our YouTube Channel. Follow-on workshops in Winter 2019/20 were enabled via funding from The Carers Trust with partnership from Devon Carers.
The 2011 Census revealed there were over 84,000 carers in Devon. Over 18,000 were providing over 50 hours of unpaid care per week.
The number of unpaid carers in the UK has nearly doubled since the start of the pandemic, with an estimated 130,000 providing care in Devon.
Unpaid Carers in Devon can find a range of support by registering with Devon Carers, online or over the phone at 03456 434 435.
Significant Seams is working to better understand the ongoing mental health, peer support, and respite support needs of unpaid carers and develop new activity to support them, including training for frontline workers on the health and wellbeing benefits of creativity and craft – an area of mental health work dubbed. ‘Craftfulness.’
Our original project was made possible with support from Arts Council England, Awards for All, Crediton Town Council, and Devon Community Foundation, and several regional organisations including Unite Mid Devon Carers and Devon Carers. The project was shaped with artists, paid carers, frontline delivery organisations and with feedback from unpaid carers.