creative:voices is Create’s multi-artform programme that enables adult carers to take a creative break from their caring responsibilities, build trusting relationships with their peers and develop communication skills, new interests and confidence.

For seven weeks between October and December 2023, carers from Wigan and Leigh Carers Centre took part in a visual arts project with Create’s professional artist Lizzie Chapman.   

Elizabeth and Sue shared their experiences with us.

Elizabeth’s story

“I’ve got an 11-year-old son who was born with multiple disabilities, so I’ve been caring for the last 11 years. I had to give up my job as he got older because I couldn’t manage all the appointments, being up all night and doing a full-time job.

“I’ve enjoyed coming to the project because it’s nice having somewhere you can go.

It gives me a sense of purpose. It’s nice to have something that gives a sense of achievement. You’ve got something that you’ve finished and you can take home and show people what you’ve achieved.


trying something new

“It’s nice to have different things to try as well. Mosaics and lino printing are something I never would have tried on my own. I enjoyed having different opportunities. There are barriers that stop me from being creative, like the time and money. It’s very expensive. Particularly if you’re on a pension or you’ve had to give up your work. The Carer’s Allowance is next to nothing, so affording to do things that are for you is not really a priority. I have really tried to engage with all the different Create project and found that I liked things that I didn’t think I would like.

“One of the projects I’ve made is actually for my son’s bedroom. I showed him a picture of it and he seemed really proud of it and he liked it. And he said he could recognise what it was so that’s encouraging.

“I would like to use what I’ve learnt here in the future with my son too. Particularly I think mosaics are quite good as they weren’t too difficult. And the lino printing is quite satisfying.”

socialising through arts

“I think it’s important because it gets people together [who] wouldn’t necessarily have opportunities to meet. It goes across class, gender, age. I’m not particularly sociable. I don’t have any family, so it’s just us on our own. I think I’ve learnt that I can maybe be a bit more sociable. I think I need people and connection a bit more than I think I do. It does do you good.

“I’m not always very confident, but I think I have got more confident as the [project] has gone on and I’ve been able to speak up appropriately if I felt I needed to.”


“I’m Susan and I used to care for my son who had young onset Alzheimer’s. But he passed away. I’m also the next-of-kin to my sister who I think has got autism. She’s 81.

“It’s lovely coming here. It’s absorbing to make the things. It’s nice to be able to chat and meet new people. And it doesn’t matter if you’re fed up or anything because everybody will understand. It’s been very important and I’ve made friends.”

I think engagement with the creative arts is valuable. It really does help.


“Sue finds solace and respite in the project. The creative process allows her to escape temporarily from all that is going on in her life and find comfort in the supportive environment.

“Because you just literally forget for a few hours: usually you’re so concentrated on what you’re doing, your mind is too full for anything else.”

This project is funded by The Smiles Fund, awarding funds from Walkers and Comic Relief.