Building off the success of last year’s Hand in Hand Together Initiative, wellbeing charity, The Together Project, has started fundraising for its new “Crafting Connections” programme, which aims to create long-lasting intergenerational friendships through arts & crafts.
The concept of “Crafting Connections” involves children and older adults in residential care homes being partnered up to create artwork on a given topic each month and swap it in the post, along with some themed ‘fun facts’ about themselves.
Each participant is given a “friendship folder” to store their partner’s creations, building up a memory of their friendship as the months go by. Also included in the children’s monthly packs is age-appropriate educational information for parents to share with their children, such as a guide to dementia or what life was like when their older friend was a child. Children’s parents and caregivers who want to be involved can sign up to a £10 monthly donation which will help to fund the scheme long-term. Care homes will be asked to contribute a donation towards running costs, depending on ability to pay.
With support from the Foundation, the Hallmark Foundation and individual donors, “Crafting Connections” has already secured £33,000 of the £45,000 needed to launch and the charity is now looking for additional partners and individuals to help them reach their fundraising target.
Those interested in funding or sponsoring “Crafting Connections”, may get in touch with Louise, Founder & CEO of The Together Project at ku.oc1638089370.tcej1638089370orpre1638089370htego1638089370teht@1638089370esiuo1638089370l1638089370
“Crafting Connections builds on the success and insights from The Together Project’s “Hand In Hand Together” initiative, a similar programme which ran from August 2020 till May 2021, where children, including the Prime Minister’s son Wilfred, and older adults in care homes swapped handprint-themed pictures. Like “Hand in Hand Together”, “Crafting Connections” will work to fight loneliness and reach across the terrible divide that COVID-19 had created, addressing the continued effects on the older population’s mental and physical well being.
Louise Goulden, Founder & CEO of The Together Project, said of the continued need amongst the older population for more personal interactions:
“The pandemic has shone a spotlight on social isolation and the importance for our mental health of connecting with others. But many in our society will continue to experience the devastating impact of loneliness long after COVID-19 has receded. Even before the restrictions, rates of severe loneliness in older adults were more than double for people living in care homes versus those living in the community.
In 2020, a study of 128 care home managers from Dementia UK showed that 79% of managers reported that lack of social contact caused a deterioration in health and wellbeing of dementia residents. (Dementia UK, from Grace Macaskil, Mirror July 5 2020). For many care home residents, digital solutions like Zoom are not always suitable, especially for residents with dementia.
However, researchers from the University of Manchester suggested in a recent paper on the adverse mental and physical effects of social isolation and loneliness on care home residents during Covid-19, that “mail deliveries in the form of parcels, cards, and letters could help ensure older people feel connected to the outside world”.
Ms. Goulden continued:
The study’s findings perfectly sum up the need for our programme. Crafting Connections can play a vital role in improving the wellbeing of older adults by creating life-enhancing new friendships, as well as being such a valuable and fun-filled activity for children and their families. We can’t wait to get started’.
Our CEO, Jonathan Freeman MBE, said:
Throughout the pandemic, one of the biggest challenges facing those in care and those with loved ones in care has been overcoming the distance and separation. There is evidence that Crafting Connections can make a difference in improving the mental health of people and we are delighted that the Foundation can support such a meaningful initiative that aligns with our values.