Staff and services users at Newhaven in Wakefield are embracing creativity and have been rewarded for their hard work.
Newhaven is a low secure rehabilitation unit for people with a learning disability. Creative activities are planned for residents as part of their recovery and include art, music sessions, quizzes, creative writing and current affairs discussions.
Working alongside Newhaven’s art and music practioner Paul Dews, Craig and Chris who use the service entered their creative work in this year’s Koestler Awards and picked up four prizes between them.
The Koestler Awards are an opportunity for offenders, secure patients and detainees to get their creative work seen or heard. The awards aim to give participants a positive goal towards which they can strive and a means of acquiring and practising new skills, and often discovering unrecognised talent.
In this year’s awards Craig won Gold prize for his song entry ‘Live Forever’ and picked up £60 and an official winner’s certificate. Chris won Platinum for his digital image ‘The Hare’ and together with the certificate received £100 prize money. Chris’s work was also recognised with the Bronze award for another digital image ‘Cross Hare’ and Commended for his poem ‘The Big Bang in Wakefield’.
Speaking about the creative work Chris said, "I attend sessions about twice a week and find it really peaceful and calming. It has also helped boost my self esteem. I was really happy to have won these awards for these skills."
Craig added, "I find it really rewarding taking part in the different sessions and it has given me the opportunity to have a go at something that I’d never found time for before."
Taking part in creative activities is an outlet for creative energies and emotions and success in awards success as this give people a great sense of achievement and encouragement to continue in the arts and education.
Staff at Newhaven 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. Embracing different creative activities gives everyone the opportunity to try their hand at brand new activities and learn skills that they never thought they could.
Speaking about the success Paul said, "It’s excellent to see the success and enjoyment that both Craig and Chris have got out of this awards scheme. The creative sessions we hold at Newhaven give all residents the opportunity to take part in different activities and try their hand at something new. It might be that they don’t have an interest in all the areas covered, but we find that after trying a few different types of activity they often find something that they really have an interest in and can enjoy.
"It’s very rewarding for staff to look back and see the progress people have made and the positive changes in their behaviour. It’s also great to see the Trust is committing to creativity with the Creative Minds strategy and we have already been given lots of support to continue our work in this area to help people who use our service."
Newhaven is constantly looking for new ways to explore creativity and is looking forward to inviting the charity AIM to the unit to work on a sculpture project. Another session of circus skills is also planned as the previous day proved to be such a big hit with both staff and service users.
Read more about Creative Minds.