The creativity is flowing at Genesis Life Skills, as clients gather in the warm, spacious Gateway Centre each week to knit, upcycle, and sculpt with clay. The popularity of these artistic groups seems to bear out the scientific findings that creative activities like knitting and crafting can have mental and even physical health benefits.
Katherine, who’s a regular at the Upcycle Café, says ‘I find it really relaxing.’
Having had three bouts of surgery to deal with in the last year alone, Katherine’s also aware of the social benefits.
‘If I wasn’t here, I’d be home alone watching telly, which isn’t good for me.’
The group is clearly a life raft for some of the clients. Vasi sits on his bag outside the venue, waiting patiently for the session to begin. He learned to knit just a year ago, and is very skilled and precise as he works the even stitches to create a beautiful little purse. With some big obstacles in his life, this is a point of focus and achievement.
‘I like the wool, the colours,’ he says. ‘ And I like the making’.
Kim has been part of the group since it started, and is full of praise.
‘I love coming here because Penny [one of the group’s volunteer facilitators] is such a nice teacher’.
On another table a little group is working intently on some donated limestone tile samples, painting them with glue. The concentration is palpable as clients use the decorative layer of a paper napkin to decoupage the tiles, to beautiful effect.
We would love to expand our creative activities at Life Skills. If you have the skills and patience to work with our vulnerable clients, either as a one-off or a regular commitment, contact Sue Fourie.