Offerton Activities Group
During the Stockport Homes customer roadshow in 2017, the Customer Engagement Team spoke to residents in Offerton who wanted to see more activities available at Offerton Community Centre and expressed an interest in setting up an art group. From resident’s feedback, the Offerton Activities Group formed in January 2018 offering arts and crafts and singing activities with a dementia friendly focus.
During the early days of the group, the Committee secured funding from the SKylight Community Fund to help to cover the costs of room hire and materials to establish a weekly art group, which is run by local volunteers. The Group offers a place to paint, draw or complete a craft activity and its membership quickly grew to 15 attendees each week. The volunteers also supported the establishment of a monthly intergenerational choir, made up of residents living with dementia and students from Stockport School. In 2020, the choir relocated to practice at the school to enable more students to participate. The choir recently featured on the BBC’s ‘Our Dementia Choir’ programme.
During the Covid pandemic all face to face activities were paused. The volunteers continued to deliver art supplies to members of the group for them to continue to paint and draw at home. Post covid, the Group became aware that the Alzheimer’s Society had a waiting list of residents wanting to participate in their dementia friendly ‘Singing for the Brain’ sessions.
The Committee set up a fortnightly ‘Singing for Memory’ session at Offerton Community Centre and secured a donation from Stockport Free Masons and successfully re-bid to the SKylight Community Fund for funds towards the costs of a choir leader, room hire and refreshments. Since September 2021 the group have welcomed 30 residents to the singing session with many regular attendees.
Singing for Memory Session at Offerton Community Centre
The weekly art group sessions have been able to sustain themselves by charging £1 to attend, selling handmade cards and their crafts at Christmas markets and from commissions for soft animals one of the volunteers has taught others to make.
The art group now runs at its maximum capacity. The Committee have found applying to the SKylight Community Fund easy, with staff always happy to assist them if needed.