Carers from the Royal Leicestershire, Rutland and Wycliffe Society for the Blind recently received certificates in Creative Caring from the University of Leicester Richard Attenborough Centre for Disability and the Arts.
The eleven members of the Society, who all work in care homes for visually impaired residents, took the innovative 6-week course which suggested imaginative ways to incorporate the creative arts into the care they offer their clients.
Topics included in the programme were the role of carers, the needs of carers and clients, working with sensory deprivation, senility, dementia and mental illness. Participants on the course had plenty of opportunities to develop skills with clay and paint and to investigate the more practical elements of materials and tools, as well as to consider the role of music in caring.
Sculpture Tutor, Sian Thomas, who organised the Creative Caring Programme said : "The students worked very well and achieved a lot, in fact they would have liked the course to be longer. They are going to create their own network to meet afterwards and exchange views. There was a lot of positive discussion about setting up something in the homes. They did enjoy the music element as well, and realised that music can be many different things."
Mr Philip Parkinson, Director of the Royal Leicestershire, Rutland and Wycliffe Society for the Blind added : "Whilst apprehensive beforehand at the thought of 'doing something creative', the staff not only really enjoyed the course but surprised themselves by what they achieved and by how valuable what they learned would be to those with whom they worked."
Formally opened by the late Princess of Wales in May 1997, the Richard Attenborough Centre for Disability and the Arts is open to everybody, but has a special focus on people with disabilities and other members of the public who may have found access to arts education difficult. Its work has evolved from courses run by the University's Department of Adult Education for groups under-represented in adult and community education.
Sculpture workshops specifically designed for visually impaired people, formed the beginnings of the project in 1982. From these grew the current programmes of classes, workshops, training seminars, research projects and exhibitions, not only in sculpture and art, but also music, dance, drama and creative writing.
Note to editors : Further information is available from Dr Eleanor Hartley, the Richard Attenborough Centre for Disability and the Arts, University of Leicester, PO Box 138, University Road, Leicester LE1 9HN, telephone (0116) 252 2455, fax (0116) 252 5165, minicom (0116) 223 1520, email RACentre@le. ac.uk.
Further information on the work of the Centre and Creative Caring is available from Sian Thomas, Sculpture Tutor, or Dr Eleanor Hartley, Director, Richard Attenborough Centre for Disability and the Arts, University of Leicester, PO Box 138, University Road, Leicester LE1 9HN, telephone (0116) 252 2455, fax (0116) 252 5165, minicom (0116) 223 1520, email RACentre@le.ac.uk
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