Essex care homes get creative to tackle isolation


Since August 2021 artists from Magic Me, have been connecting with care professionals in Essex. They are working together to design and facilitate creative activities that can be delivered with older people with a range of needs. They are focusing on how to do this with residents who are unable to (or who prefer not to) leave their bed or room as well as those who are or less likely to join group activities.

Photo shows two people looking at a mobile phone screen as they take a picture of an artwork they have just made. On the left is an older man with his back to us, he is wearing glasses and a grey top, on the right is a younger man with dark hair, he is holding the phone and is wearing an orange top. In front of them is a table covered with a colourful table cloth and art materials.Essex 2021 Magic Me Workshop 1 Quenby_Photo Credit Georgia Akbar & Lily Ash Sakula

The project is funded by Essex County Council and builds on Magic Me’s work with care professionals in Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest and follows from work in Essex which includes a ground-breaking Artists’ Residencies in Care Homes project taking place in Maldon, Colchester, Harwich and Chigwell and contributions to Essex County Council’s Creative Journeys project.

Photo shows someone holding up a piece of marbled paper that they have just made, below their hands we can see the white marbling tray, some bottles of marbling ink and a brightly covered tableclothEssex 2021 Magic Me Workshop 1_3_Quenby_photo credit_Lily Ash Sakula & Georgia Akbar (1) (1)
Two care homes act as pilots for the project. Staff at Quenby home in Colchester and Edensor home in Clacton-On-Sea are taking part in weekly workshops delivered by artists Lily Ash Sakula (them/them) and Georgia Akbar (she/her). They are using these workshops to test different ways to engage in creative activities that use sensory processes, experimental filmmaking and mindfulness. As part of this work the artists offer in depth support to staff across the home to deliver the activities and feed into the creative process.

Alongside the weekly workshops at Quenby and Edensor, Magic Me will bring together a wider group of care professionals from six additional homes to trial activities and share back their experiences. They will also be hosting monthly network meetings where they aim to provide fresh creative activities and give care staff an opportunity to connect with people in other homes as well as provide a space in which they can share their expertise and ideas. Feedback from this network will be fed into the development of an online offer for other homes in Essex.

We are excited to be expanding our work in Essex. It’s particularly encouraging to see how a model developed out of the restrictions in the pandemic (and which we used in our Inside Out project in Waltham Forest), has become something that can empower a large number of staff in homes across a whole county. We see this collaboration between artists and care professionals as an important area for development, particularly as the future remains uncertain and the pandemic far from contained.

Susan Langford, Director

Photo shows the garden of a care home, across the garden is a washing line holding up different pieces of marbled paper - some are square and some are round - they are mostly dominated by blue colours Essex 2021 Workshop Quenby__Photo Credit Georgia Akbar & Lily Ash Sakula.jpg (1)


Find out all about it here


All photos are from workshops held at Quenby care home
All Photos credit: Lily Ash Sakula and Georgia Akbar for Magic Me