Bridging Arts

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Forging new friendships

The country is hit by blizzards and a cold day in Shepherds Bush - though not much snow on the Uxbridge Road. A short walk down the street to a sheltered housing complex that I didn't even realise was a neighbour. We are interested in taking the Stitch embroidery workshops into residential homes for older people and inviting people of all ages and backgrounds into the centres to join the classes. The manager of the complex says that her residents are isolated. She feels that in our culture - 21st century Britain - old age is not valued. In the summers in Nigeria, where she was brought up, she was sent off to the village where her grandmother lived. She learned how to cook, use native pots as refrigerators, sew....The wisdom of the old is valued. Not here.
People become flat and depressed through isolation. Classes - like the embroidery classes we are planning - could provide much needed interest and also be something to look forward to every week. They would  help to forge new friendships. More stimulus and also another way of engaging with people who need to be looked after and cared for.
Am shocked to think that this large, insular, community is on my doorstep and that I have such little contact with it.