Using creativity to overcome adversity at Kingarth

August 11, 2020

From exotic birds and safari animals to eclectic patterns and self-portraits, over the Covid-19 lockdown, the supported individuals at Kingarth in Greater Manchester, flexed their amazing art skills to produce some fabulous wall art to add to their service gallery.

They also produced a ‘Kingarth tree’ consisting of the hand-prints of all the individuals and colleagues at the service. The idea behind the tree was to show their togetherness during this difficult time – it even included their favourite cat ‘Bueno’ who visits them every day.

Kingarth is a nursing led residential service that supports men with learning disabilities, autism and complex needs, including mental health issues and additional nursing needs. Supported individuals require an enhanced or specialist level of support which is otherwise unavailable in community settings due to the complexity of their needs.

Service Manager, John Eden said, “Art can be a very effective way for people with a learning disability and other complex needs to communicate and discover thoughts and feelings while working towards solutions.”

“Not only can it be motivational and stimulate communication and interaction, it can also offer an alternative form of independent expression particularly during times of negative feelings, change or distress which can otherwise lead to anxiety, frustration and behavioural challenges.”

One individual who has found painting and drawing very therapeutic, particularly over lockdown, is Liam. For Liam aged 35, the last 18 months have been especially challenging. After being diagnosed with Oesophageal Cancer he spent 12 months undergoing treatment, including several rounds of Chemotherapy.

His last Chemotherapy session ended at the start of this year and then just a few short months later, the Covid-19 outbreak happened and as a result he was under extreme clinical shielding and was very limited to what he could do.

For Liam, his artwork really helped him to relax and feel settled during this period.  “I don’t mind what I draw. It could be anything. I love colouring books and pictures. It makes me feel calm and chilled. I don’t have a favourite, I have lots of different ones. They are displayed on the wall in the dining room and in my room,” said Liam.

Liam’s shielding ended in August and he has been busy making lots of plans including a visit to his family in Blackburn which he is really looking forward to.

With the support of the team, Liam is also working towards long-term goals such as living more independently and going on his first holiday abroad.

“I’m working towards moving on to supported living in the future. I’m also planning a holiday to Benidorm next year, and I’m looking forward to going to a football match, either Blackburn or Man City because they are my favourite teams,” said Liam.  

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