Staff and service users at Newhaven, Fieldhead, have been trying their hand at a variety of circus skills thanks to the Urban Circus Arts.
Provided by the South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust Newhaven is a low secure rehabilitation service for adults with learning disabilities.
During a series a of eight sessions, which are designed to inspire, challenge and provoke, the founder of Urban Circus Daryll Hackett worked through a variety of circus skills with service users and staff including tight rope walking, juggling and riding a unicycle.
Activities were designed to give participants a space where they can think and act creatively, come to have fun and take part in exciting activities, whilst also developing skills of problem solving, concentration and self discipline.
Sessions included learning the basic circus skills such as juggling with scarves, balls and clubs; throwing and catching the diabolo and plate spinning. As well as more complicated activities such as tight wire walking and walking globe.
The activities were great for encouraging group work and team building at the same time as boosting confidence and leaving participants with a great sense of achievement.
Speaking about the circus sessions David Ogden, head occupational therapist said, "At Newhaven we are always looking for new and exciting activities to add to the regular weekly program that will motivate and improve the quality of life for those on the unit. The circus sessions went above and beyond what we had hoped for and gave everyone including staff the opportunity to try their hand at brand new activities and learn skills that they never thought they could. It was a real pleasure to see people involved and conquering their fears."
Darryl broke activities down into manageable chunks so that everyone could take part and learn at their own pace. The juggling was fantastic for improving the hand eye coordination of the service users and all of the activities boosted the level of social interaction on the unit. Everyone was able to engage on the same level and it was great for bringing staff and service users together.