In 2021, The Lightbox gallery and museum was awarded funding from Arts Council England as part of the Culture Recovery Fund 2. This funding was used for various projects which included creating activity packs for three local care homes in Surrey - West Hall Care home, Woking Homes and Coxhill Manor Nursing and Residential Home, to help engage their residents with art and to support their creative efforts during a time that they would’ve otherwise felt isolated due to Covid-19.  

Image: Arnold, Jean & Vicky at Coxhill with The Lightbox Senior Learning and Engagement Officer Vicky Thompson

The contents of the packs had been decided upon in collaboration with the care home staff, they were adaptable and could be used for a wide range of activities. A creative pack of resources included: Watercolour paints, pencils, paintbrushes, ergonomic pencil/paintbrush grips, watercolour paper, ergonomic writing slopes, a folder with a range of interactive activity cards to inspire them and photo frames to showcase their work in the care home.

Each interactive activity card was based on a different theme, such as collage, reading, or inspired by artworks from The Ingram Collection. The cards have discussion ideas on one side, and a creative activity tutorial on the other side inspired by the theme or artwork. Activities included making paper flowers, bookmarks, leaf printing and writing letters to loved ones.  

The Lightbox strongly believes in the power of the arts to improve lives, for many people art can provide a welcome relief from the difficulties of the everyday world and enhance their wellbeing. The range of beautiful and diverse artworks created by the residents enables them to create without any expectation or pressure.  

After a hiatus due to the many lockdowns of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Learning and Engagement team will be returning to run their arts-based outreach programme called Art Without Walls. This project has enabled The Lightbox team to facilitate arts activities in local care homes around Woking and engage with people who could not easily get to the gallery and museum themselves. With this project and the activity packs, local care homes have many ways to keep inspired and creative. 

The Lightbox would like to thank: Arts Council England, West Hall Care home – Cassie Wills, Wellbeing Manager. Woking Homes – Janet Stevens, Activities Organiser. Coxhill Manor Nursing and Residential Home – Sarah Taylor, Activities Coordinator.   

Quote from the project leader (Vicky Thompson – Senior Learning & Engagement Officer):  

“It has been fantastic to help our local care homes have the confidence, equipment and ideas to help their residents get creative. It’s been tough not being able to visit them all in person due to the pandemic, but hopefully, these creative packs will allow them to engage remotely with our ethos -‘Art has the power to make you feel good’.  Whilst we cannot visit them currently, we are glad to know that we can still engage with them and I can’t wait to see all the amazing artworks that they produce!” 

To find out more about our Art and Wellbeing programme, click here.