East Midlands: “I’m not very good at art”

St Mary’s House art project 

Inter generational art project at our extra care scheme with involvement from artists and the local primary school. The project was delivered together with Beauty and Utility Arts a micro provider and 12 of the tenants at our extra care service were involved along with staff, family and friends. The art classes ran over 8 weeks and the older tenants buddied up with the primary school children to explore different topics and new art and craft techniques.



I’ve loved being around the children.

In what way has it improved outcomes/the service?

The outcomes for the tenants were making stronger links with the local community and school, making new friends, improving their confidence, finding new skills and discovering old ones and having fun.

What changes did you have to make?

It was important to be flexible and organised and the artists were key to the work happening as they offered vital support and had the knowledge and skills. We had to provide resources such as staff support and the project was funded by the Leicestershire County Council innovation grant.

Did you encounter any challenges/obstacles and how did you resolve them?

Difficulties of dealing with a vulnerable client group that needed lots of support and encouragement. The need to be very well organised, allow extra time and be flexible with the approach. A real need to work together all those different parties involved.

Top tips?

  • Large font print outs for the older tenants
  • 4:1 staff to participant ratio
  • Invest in a boom pole and keep the camcorder/camera close by at all times
  • Make sure photos are taken with good cameras

Want more info? Email 

‘All her life she has been a dedicated artist but sadly the last few years have seen deterioration in her ability to paint and draw.  However, your project has been amazing for her. It has helped her motivation to paint and draw again and has completely improved her life..” Mrs Guppy (residents daughter)