Project overviewC Care’s Be a Part of Art is a volunteer-led art therapy program that seeks to engage socially isolated and disadvantaged older people in diversion therapy. It started as a pilot to get seniors involved in creating art bags to send overseas to disadvantaged children, but the activities proved so popular that C Care set out to make it more widely available.
The project aims to create a safe place where people can come together to focus on art as a form of diversion therapy. The sessions give participants a chance to take some time out of their everyday lives, forget about their worries, and focus on creating art.
Sessions are facilitated by volunteers, and attended by a professional art therapist who can provide a safe space and support if any difficult issues arise for participants through the practice.
The project is held every two to three weeks at various accessible community locations throughout Melbourne, such as neighbourhood houses or local libraries.
Finding the right activity for the art therapy sessions was challenging. Some people were hesitant with painting and drawing, and others lacked the fine motor skills needed for other activities such as knitting.
C Care undertook a trial and error process around people’s physical limitations and psychological barriers to find something that everyone could enjoy.
In the end, soap making proved to have the most appeal. It was something that everyone could do, and it provided a tangible outcome from the sessions that people could take away with them.
Taking small steps was the key to determining the best focus for the therapy sessions.
Funding the project is an ongoing challenge, but the volunteer model has allowed C Care to run it at a low cost.
The next iteration of the project is focusing on the products being made during sessions, such as soap, and trying to find ways to harness that value – perhaps through setting up a social enterprise to sell the products.
Downloadable Project Resources
Reviewed 19 July 2022