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Using heritage craft to explore care leavers positive memories

28 Sep 2020

Leicestershire Cares’ care experienced young people took part in a wood carving activity as part of the Taking Hold of Our Heritage project at Creative Futures Midlands’ community allotment space in New Parks.

The Covid-19 crises has turned lives upside down, and for many care experienced young people, already suffering from isolation and loneliness, this pandemic has compounded these issues, and caused even more challenges in their lives, such as struggles with poor mental well-being, including heightened anxiety, stress, poor sleep and lack of routine.

This trip links to several aspects of Leicestershire Cares work with young people, to reduce isolation and to amplify the voices of the young people.

Being outdoors and interacting with other people face to face, was a large consideration in planning this activity. The allotment setting with fresh air, nature and space allowed the young people to interact with each other in a safe way, and for some was the first time they had interacted with someone other than the people they live with in supported accomodation.

Wood carving has put me into my own little bubble. When I’m doing it, it feels like it is the only thing going on in the world. It’s like ASMR, I just totally zone into it, it’s like mindfulness...and being able to see people’s faces and have a face to face conversation feels so natural, but has been something that has been so hard to find over these last 5 months. It’s opportunities like this that Leicestershire Cares offer that are so positive for me holistically. Without being in care, I can’t imagine anything like this happening to me, or getting support like this.

Martin, care experienced young person

Equally important, the process of learning something new and using their hands to take part in a creative process and produce wooden spoons and carving loved one’s names on wood was great experiential learning for them.

This hands-on learning experience enabled the young people to open up about their past experiences and share their positive narratives. This is the ethos behind the Taking Hold of Our Heritage project, for care experienced young people to take control of the stories told of their past. Through this project the young people will create positive creative artefacts that explore their memories, histories and narrative.

Leicestershire Cares will be showcasing young people’s work digitally during Care Leavers Week on the 29th October 2020. Look our for more details about the showcase on our social media channels.

About the project

The Taking Hold of Our Heritage project is funded through the Y Heritage project, Leicester, which is part of the Heritage Lottery Fund’s pioneering "Kick the Dust” funding programme.

With thanks to National Lottery Players for their support, without them, projects such as Y Heritage could not happen.