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Many hands make great work

Many hands make great work

A thought-provoking piece of artwork created by young residents - and those involved in their support network - now has pride of place in the Buxton property where some of them live.

It is even more usual than most pictures in that it was produced using online guidance on Instagram as well as art activities delivered via mobile phones on Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Facetime.

The project was devised by Creative Mentor Claire Parker who works for Derbyshire County Council's virtual school. Claire was working with Adullam Homes’ projects in North Derbyshire, which provide accommodation and support for care leavers aged 16-plus, and Unaccompanied Asylum System Children (UASC), helping them develop life skills so they can successfully move to independent living when they are 18-plus.

The Creative Mentoring service supports children and young people to participate and engage in creative activity, often helping to bring them back into education and develop new skills. Using the arts in their broadest sense builds confidence, self-esteem and promotes wellbeing.

Describing how the Adullam ‘creative hands’ project worked, Claire said: “The pandemic provided us with a challenge of how to keep our young people creatively engaged- at a covid-safe distance. Face-to-face sessions turned into phone calls, texts, Zoom and Facetime. We had to work quickly to devise various activities.

“This started with inviting young people to draw around their hands during an online session, and to decorate their drawn hand in any way they chose. Art materials were delivered to those who needed them, and various art activities took place through our phones! Amazing .... who would have thought it possible to get creative together while not even in the same room?! 

“Some of the young people took the opportunity to decorate their hands with images, colours and words that form part of their own identity. Others were inspired by rainbows that represent our support for key workers during the worst times of the pandemic, and some used their own cultural identity and motifs to create beautiful patterns and imagery.

“As part of my own practice as a creative professional, putting these works together to create a single piece was special. The joined hands coming together as a 'collective kindness' felt hopeful and optimistic, helping me in my own journey through the pandemic. It works perfectly to communicate a message that no one is alone, and that help is here if needed.

As well as residents, former foster carers and others involved in the support network and lives of the young people living in Adullam’s projects in the High Peak were invited to join in, making it a wonderful example of co-production.

The image is now hanging in the hallway of Adullam’s Salisbury House property in Buxton. Senior Project Worker there, Michael Birchenall, says: “It’s a wonderful picture. For me it is a great piece that shows putting all our hands together, working together, can produce amazing work!”

In Derbyshire Adullam Homes has properties in Buxton, Woolley Bridge and Chesterfield and offers floating support in Chesterfield and Derbyshire Dales. The Association provides specialist accommodation and services throughout the Midlands, North West, Yorkshire and Wales to support more than 1,000 people at any one time. It delivers a range of specific projects that vary depending on the locality and funding streams in place.