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New Art Bag Project to Promote Wellbeing

15 October 2015

Hannah Cridford, Macmillan Wellbeing and Therapeutic Coordinator at The Hospice, gets weavingThe Hospice of St Francis and Peace Hospice Care are launching a new art bag project on Monday 5 October to boost the wellbeing of individuals living with a life-limiting illness in the community, or receiving hospice care.

Available for free, the bags contain an art activity and all the materials needed to complete the project. The first bag has a weaving loom for budding artists and will be launched with purple wool to coincide with the Hospices’ purple awareness days on Friday 9 October. All the materials used in the bags are recycled.

 The project is being funded by Macmillan and is a joint initiative between the Spring Centre at The Hospice of St Francis and the neighbouring Starlight Centre at Peace Hospice Care in Watford.  Art bags can be collected from both hospices and from community nurses. Volunteers participating in the Herts Neighbours Network Project will also have bags to share with people they visit.

Once completed, artists are asked to return their creation to The Hospice of St Francis’ Spring Centre or Peace Hospice Care’s Starlight Centre, to members of staff or to the Hospices’ charity shops.

The Hospice of St Francis will collate the weaving looms to form a large community art installation next year but an early display will be on view at the Hospice’s second Art at the Heart event on Sunday 15 November.

“Use of art has proven therapeutic benefits to patients,” explains Macmillan Creative Therapist Annalie Ashwell’. “We have created our Hospice art bags to give individuals a simple, creative activity which encourages them to focus on doing something ‘in the moment’, fostering enjoyment and relaxation which is obviously beneficial to those who have a life-limiting condition. It also boosts morale and promotes wellbeing and can be done by people at home, in their own homes, or with others in a group.

“It’s all part of the craftivism movement which aims to connect members of the community through collective creative endeavour and by enabling individuals to make their own mark locally through the medium of art.”

“The art bags are also a way of bringing a flavour of some of the activities we offer at the Hospice’s Spring and Starlight Centres out into our community,” continues Hannah Cridford who job shares the Macmillan Creative Therapist role with Annalie. “Hospices are not just here for controlling physical symptoms but are also all about helping patients and carers emotionally and practically, building resilience and helping them to live more positively alongside their illness.

“We hope our innovative art bags will encourage more people to find out about the huge range of creative workshops, courses and activities our wellbeing and therapeutic service has to offer, full details of which can be found in the art bags or on our website.

If you would like to be part of the Hospices’ art bag project, please pick up a bag from The Hospice of St Francis or Peace Hospice receptions or call 01442 869550.

Our beautiful Art Bags logo was designed by Natalie Parkins Design.

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