Residents, staff and volunteers together with members of the community, recently celebrated the opening of the new activity room at Jewish Care’s Sidney Corob House for people with mental health needs. With a generous donation from the Israel Lazarus Charitable Trust and the Jewish Care Women of Distinction Committee, the room has been transformed into a tranquil space showcasing creative projects that the residents have created together with artists in recent years.
Activity coordinators, Sheree Charalampous and Isabel Fontes worked with creative partners, Salmangundi Films, to project video and animated ‘mindscapes’ on the wall of the new activity room. Inspired by a childhood memory that Sheree had of projecting images on her bedroom ceiling, the residents filmed a series of relaxing images in their favourite places. This included Golders Hill Park, Westcliff on Sea and the garden of the home, to create dreamlike, seasonal images films which are now projected on the walls to promote a sense of well-being. They have also animated life-size puppet self-portraits.
Sheree says, “The mindscapes create a calm but active atmosphere conducive to creativity, crafting and pottering. It also acts as a conversation starter, featuring familiar people and places. The room is full of colour and has the potential to become and hub of creativity and conversation.”
Among the artwork in the room there are printed fabrics, ceramics, a mural and silk screen printed bunting the residents have made. The room also holds art materials, games, puzzles and a record and CD player all displayed accessibly on open shelves so that residents can use the room independently. Everything is clearly labelled, according to the Montessori approach to a care setting, and the response from the residents has been very positive.
Two residents unveiled the plaque in the new room and one resident, Linda, says, “The room is beautiful, I like sitting in here,” Eveline adds, “It’s so calm and cool.”
Speaking at the launch, Co-Chairs of the Women of Distinction Committee, Danielle Hess and Danielle Lipton, said, “I remember when I first came to visit Sidney Corob House a few years ago, they spoke of their hope to transform this space. Sandra and Sheree’s dream was to turn a store room into an activity centre for not only the residents living here but also for other people in the community who could pop in and benefit from the facility. We are so pleased that we were able to help Sandra and Sheree put their ideas into fruition. We would like to thank Michael Yaghoubi and Mark Aldbrook for speaking at our lunches and raising awareness for this wonderful home and in addition The Israel Lazarus Charitable Trust for sponsoring this initiative.”
Jewish Care’s Arts Development Coordinator, Helen Preddy adds, “The arts and culture are a joy for us all to participate in and they are particularly important for enabling communication, expression and imagination, helping us feel connected to the world around us and to ourselves. We are so pleased that the residents at Sidney Corob House will be able to enjoy this new space to explore their creativity and well being.”