Creative Hands integrated art groupAilsa Bastow of Creative Hands in Ullapool tells us how a 'Keep on Creating' microgrant from Creative Lives helped the group to feel more connected by preparing and sharing a meal after their art sessions.

"The Creative Hands inclusive art group met each week over the winter to share creative ideas and enjoy time together.

Activities followed the interests of those attending the group using mindmaps to share and develop ideas. In November we joined the Wester Ross Biosphere’s Dark Skies Festival. Our local Countryside Ranger helped us explore nighttime animals and inspired a variety of animal-themed art, painting, printing, and model making. We also thought about dark skies and snowy nights.

In December we used many hand prints to make a paper tree and decorated it for the Christmas Tree Festival organised by a local church. An icy spell of weather meant our trip to the pantomime was postponed till January but it was much enjoyed by all. February brought fun with dragons for Chinese New Year and a big dragon display for the children’s library corner.

Creative Hands integrated art groupOur Creative Lives 'Keep on Creating' grant allowed the group to enjoy a shared lunch after our art sessions each week, paying for an extra hour of room hire and ingredients for a simple lunch. The group became involved in preparing the lunches such as soup and sandwiches and helping to tidy up.

This extra time and sharing food very much enhanced our sessions, adding to the social opportunities and also the chance to be involved with different group activities, such as baking.

Participants commented ‘Welcome after a busy creative morning’ ‘Lovely to eat together’ ‘I liked the jacket potatoes best!’."