A MONTH of creative challenges has seen residents at a Saltburn-by-the-Sea care home exploring their inner artists, musicians, writers, and good Samaritans.
A recorder made from a carrot, stories beginning with the first line of their favourite books, random acts of kindness, quizzes, collages, and more were among the challenges completed at Hazelgrove Court Care Home, on Randolph Street.
Social enterprise 64 Million Artists, with support from Arts Council England, launched their January Challenge to encourage participants to complete 31 days of creative challenges throughout the month.
The challenges could be set by the participants, ideas could be found on the 64 Million Artists website, and Hazelgrove Court also had activities set by other organisations they have worked with over the years.
On the first day of the new year, charity You Okay Doc asked residents to colour a picture each, cut it up and then join the pieces with others’ pictures to create a larger collage.
On day two was a quiz and the following day saw a discussion about the word “connect” and what it means to everyone. On day four, residents were tasked with creating a waterfall by the Men’s Sheds Association, day nine was a dance, and on day 10 the young people at Grow UK asked residents to find various items in the garden.
On another day, there was a making music challenge, which saw Walter Ross, 89, create a recorder out of a carrot. He said: “If someone asked me what I had been doing today, I don’t think they would believe me when I said making a recorder out of a carrot.”
Later, residents were asked to turn to page 10 of some of their favourite books and use the first sentence to begin their own stories.
Judith Pearson, 78, picked The Wedding Dress, with the first sentence on page 10 reading: “The evening was no less formal or elegant than any similar event in Boston or New York”. She said: “If I had read this as an introduction to a book I would have wanted to read the book.”
On 18th January, Connect Force challenged participants to connect with someone by sending them a song. Resident Judith Pearson chose to send “You Are My Sunshine” to Helen Kennedy, from The Imaginarium Creative Studios, in Redcar.
The following day, Rotherham United Community Sports Trust set the challenge of a random act of kindness, with residents choosing to buy a plant and leave it by a parked car with a note for the driver to find. Then on the 20th, residents used an app on their tablets to create pencil drawings and send them to their families.
On the 22nd, residents sent a recipe for bacon and chive muffins to one of the home’s agency workers, then on the 23rd the National Activity Providers Association asked residents to relax like a tree, and on the 24th they had to talk to someone new.
In the final few days of the challenge, residents had to collect leaves and write “love” on them, as well as build a tower out whatever they could find in the care home, including boxes, board games, and more. Then, on the 31st, they were asked what they enjoyed about the challenge.
Eric Starsmore, 71, said: “I have loved the way the 64 Million Artist January challenge has helped us to connect with others not just outside the home but with people in the home as well.”
After writing her own wordsearch, Joyce Tibbett, 88: “I love that I have created an activity for everyone to enjoy.”
Joyce Baxtrem, 91, said: “I have loved the anticipation of the 64 Million Artists January challenge, waiting for the reveal of the challenge each day.”
Sharon Lewis, activities coordinator at Hazelgrove Court Care Home, said: “I have loved taking part in this challenge. It has been a joy to see the residents’ enthusiasm for the challenges each day and the fun and laughter we’ve had throughout the month has made it all worthwhile.”