Caring for carers through art
We live in lonely times – and few people suffer more acutely than unpaid carers, devoting much of their lives to helping a loved one navigate life.
Judith Holliman, Pioneer Minister in Radyr, on the edge of Cardiff, is using art as a way to offer carers and other isolated people an opportunity to get together.
‘Art is an ice breaker,’ said Judith. ‘Anyone can do it – you don’t have to be Monet, you can create something and, in the process, you also create yourself. There’s something very peaceful and calming about that, whether you’re painting or simply making a collage from pictures cut from magazines.
‘We have an upstairs room above the church which has fallen into disuse, and I felt that it would make an excellent studio – a relaxed space, where half a dozen people could work together, chatting, drinking tea, listening and being listened to, and a place where spirituality can be discussed.’
Although Radyr is on the edge of a large and bustling city, it is an area blighted by loneliness and isolation, said Judith.
‘My hope is to focus on helping people who are lonely and struggling to find community, and on unpaid carers who are giving up their time to care for a loved one,’ she said. ‘I know from my own experience, caring for my own son, that this can be a difficult and stressful thing, and the opportunity to meet other people who are experiencing the same things can be really invaluable.
‘And there is a real need for community space in general in Radyr – we’re in the early stages of a development of 10,000 new homes, and there is no provision of that kind on the new estate. There are no halls, no green space – not even corner shops, where neighbours might bump into one another. As a result, everyone gets into their car to “go out”, with the obvious effects on community spirit. Art is a great way to bring people together – it can really open hearts.
‘I was thrilled to have won, and really impressed that Methodist Insurance is engaging with new ventures for Christ in our area in this way. The money will be extremely useful – it will allow me to have the room painted, and to purchase some tables and a cupboard. I’ll also be able to buy-in art supplies so that no-one need be excluded because they can’t afford materials.’