Revive and Thrive
A story by Include Us
We delivered Revive & Thrive a programme of fun, friendly and welcoming activities to provide carers with opportunities for mindful moments, peer support and a break to recharge their batteries. Set amongst the trees in Catherine Street Inclusive Park to immerse carers in the wellbeing benefits of nature.
What Revive and Thrive did
Set within our inclusive pocket woodland park, we delivered a programme of 12 creative activity sessions: each led the group through a fun activity to develop new skills and social networks and provided participants with a resource bag to take home so they could continue their new hobby at home. Sessions delivered were:
Moments in Nature, Mandala stone painting, Jewellery making, Gelli Printing, Quilting for Beginners, Sensory planting, African Drumming, a Mini Mindfulness retreat, a Jubilee Party, Mosaic making, Glass painting and decoupage and Tie-Dying.
We also delivered 3 blocks of 4 wellbeing sessions based on Qi Gong (similar to Tai Chi), Mindfulness and Yoga. All sessions were fully accessible and inclusive to those with disabilities. Participants were targeted via our own networks, local carers organisations and support groups, Alzheimer Scotland, Support in Mind and via our active social media networks and links.
We created all weather solutions to the outdoor venue by using our outdoor classroom area with heaters and tarpaulin windbreaks to ensure nature was ever present to support relaxation but wasn't negatively affecting activities. The take home packs proved successful with carers commenting that they often felt rushed to complete projects when attending craft sessions elsewhere as they wouldn't have the resources needed to complete projects at home.
Knowing that everything needed to complete their project would be available to them after the workshop enabled them to relax and enjoy their time more. We've received feedback and photos from carers sharing their home-based creations following sessions proving the added value a resource pack brings.
The Jubilee Party was a wonderful, happy event that attracted a new large group of carers. Many of whom brought the person they cared for, predominantly seniors. We played traditional party games such as pass the parcel and bingo and enjoyed a sociable tea party outdoors. It really was wonderful to see everyone looking so relaxed and enjoying the games together and feeling better connected to the community around them.
What Include Us has learned
This project has enabled us to:
1. Develop a programme to reach those unable to attend sessions and therefore most isolated. We will include resource packs and video instructions for those unable to attend.
2. Build community links with other organisations working with carers and reach new target groups through their communication channels.
3. Better design innovative and imaginative evaluation and monitoring approaches that can be used in our work beyond this project.
How Include Us has benefitted from the funding
Creative Breaks funding supported our drive to ensure play, recreation and learning is available to all regardless of ages, background or ability. We already had many opportunities to work with children and young people so this funding ensured we could reach more people who often find themselves isolated. Now new target groups benefit from our inclusive park and the wellbeing opportunities it brings and everyone using the space benefits from engaging with more diverse groups. This experience allowed us to assess what works and what could be improved on so we can deliver similar programmes to other groups as well as carers. We have already been approached by other organisations who saw our project on social media posts and would like us to deliver similar funded projects for them.
50 Carers will have attended workshops where they participated in new enjoyable skills, connected with peers, benefited from mindful time spent away from their caring environment and had the opportunity to spend time in nature
We achieved this outcome through delivery of our programme of mixed activities accessible both to carers and those they care for plus our blocks of wellbeing activities. A total of 66 carers attended sessions with most attending more than one session with us, outdoors in the park.
One participant attending our mandala dot painting class expressed how stressful things had been at home and how she felt she was existing and had lost sense of who she was and what she enjoyed. She loved the stone painting and explained she had been an avid painter but due to her own tiredness and difficulties in her caring role she'd stopped painting and forgotten how therapeutic it actually is. She has continued stone painting at home and is creating a space in her house for art where she is determined to spend time regularly. She has her first painted stone set out as a visible reminder of how much she benefits from being creative.
50 Carers will indicate that they felt more relaxed and able to cope with caring demands as a result of engagement with our activity programme
This outcome was achieved by ensuring facilitators, staff and volunteers took time to listen to carers and encouraged peer connection. All feedback indicated an improvement in sense of relaxation following sessions. The promotion of wellbeing support ideas to try at home such as mindful breathing, samples of relaxation tea and access to apps at the end of the wellbeing sessions were well received with all participants saying they felt better able to return to their caring role feeling more revigorated and intend to continue these practises.
One participant spoke of feeling isolated due to the complex nature and condition of the person she cares for. Through attending session, she built friendships with others she met at activities and discovered shared experiences. Since attending sessions these friendships have developed and she now speaks to other participants via social media and coffee dates. She was emotional discussing what a godsend this programme has been for her and how having peer support helps her to feel less alone in her struggles.
50 Carers and those they care for will feel they have benefited from an improvement in physical or emotional wellbeing as a result of attending our activities
We achieved this outcome by ensuring each session offered the chance for informal chat, shared refreshments, fun and relaxation. Opportunity to spend time outdoors was also maximised during sessions and guidance on exercises to try at home between sessions was provided to support continued development. All participants provided feedback that their emotional wellbeing improved as a result of the opportunity to take time out and share new skills and issues with peers who understand. Participants engaging with the wellbeing sessions all reported a sense of deeper relaxation and better physical wellbeing following sessions. This light bulb moment for many included requests for ongoing wellbeing sessions to support stress management and chronic pain and disability. While they intended continuing to try these activities at home, they all agreed that led sessions were more motivating and easier to follow.
Some participants in our wellbeing sessions have sought out classes in the region to continue their practice and we are trying to arrange longer-term classes in the park. A number of participants of our yoga, mindfulness and Qi Gong blocks felt the experience has been transformative in aiding relaxation, flexibility and pain control and would never have attempted such classes had they not been able to access sessions described as gentle and accessible for carers. Two of the facilitators are now discussing partnering to create gentle, wellbeing sessions to benefit others.