Tales Of Together: Creativity In A Pandemic

In 2021 we joined forces with Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust on a pilot project, designed to reduce isolation and increase wellbeing among older individuals during the pandemic by encouraging participation in creative activity.

In 2021, Sampad and the East Birmingham Team from Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust (BSMHFT) worked together to provide creative opportunities to 18 adults accessing services at the Little Bromwich Centre in order to reduce isolation and improve wellbeing during the Covid 19 pandemic.

Tales of Together saw regular calls, postcards and art kits that were hand delivered to participants during lockdown, with activities such as painting, poetry, rangoli and pattern sculptures.

Inspired by this and the groups enjoyment of poetry, Sampad commissioned poet and spoken word artist Amerah Saleh to co-write a poem about their experiences of lockdown and the pandemic.

Through telephone calls, Amerah collected stories and words from each person and put them together into one collaborative piece that was performed on the doorsteps of those that took part.

When lockdown eased, the group were able to come together and meet in person at the Little Bromwich Centre for weekly creative workshops, exploring clay with Jon Williams, print making with Ranbir Kaur, painting with Ruth Turnbull and poetry with Amerah Saleh.

Project activity included:
Telephone calls
Artboxes and doorstop drops
In person workshops
Telephone performances
Telephone workshop
Doorstep performance

Here are some of the participants thoughts:

I think if I continue to pursue this creative outlet I’ll be able to handle better the past, the future and enjoy the here and now, despite whatever else may be going on close to home and far away. Positive thoughts are beginning to replace negative thoughts.

I think it has given me permission to enjoy myself. I’ve enjoyed meeting and speaking to people. I think my self esteem and confidence is beginning to grow.

This art experience through sampad has far outweighed my expectations.

The ‘craft kit box’ was like opening up a box of delights!

What a gift for someone to phone you and share their poetry. For they have given up their time to sprinkle gold dust, leaving a moment of magic.

This project has been funded by Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust