Meet Pam, an adult carer from Lewisham

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.

In September and October 2022, carers from Lewisham took part in six weeks of jewellery-making workshops with our professional artist Renata Minoldo.

Adult carer Pam (60+) told us about her experiences.

Lewisham jewellery making
A selection of jewellery pieces created on creative:voices Lewisham

“Being a carer brings limitations to time, limitations to what you can do. you never really know what’s around the corner.”

pam, participant

“I have a son who has a physical disability. And I cared for my husband who had his own disability. He sadly passed away several months ago. So this has been absolutely a lifeline to me. Overall, I’ve been caring for 42 years, since my son was born.

“Being a carer changed my lifestyle quite a lot, but we worked as a family team, and I feel privileged having the kind of family that I had, so I was still able to achieve things and do things. But all those things were done with extreme planning and consideration. I’m not saying everything was easy, it wasn’t. But it’s about knowing there are other people out there in similar situations, that you’re not on your own. It’s a very lonely place to be sometimes.

“Being a carer brings limitations to time, limitations to what you can do. For lots of people, unfortunately, there are financial limitations. And you never really know what’s around the corner.

“An ideal, perfect time”

Lewisham jewellery making
Participants creating jewellery at creative:voices Lewisham

“During the project I have created a bracelet, some earrings and some individualised keyrings. The keyrings are for my family members, for my daughters and grandchildren, and I’ve tried to individualise each one with a little tweak.

“I’ve definitely enjoyed the contact with other people. I’ve enjoyed looking at their creativity and ideas, and just being able to come somewhere and do something.

“In making the jewellery, I’ve learned to go with what you feel, and not to be too structured. You’ve got to be structured to a degree, but then let your creativity flow. I did feel a sense of achievement because certain elements for me I found a little bit tricky. But being shown how to do things, you can achieve. I enjoyed that.

“It was brilliant working with Renata. She’s very informative, very helpful. She shows you what to do in a way where you’re still achieving under your own steam, but she’s there to guide you verbally if you need it.

“It’s a lifeline”

“To be able to sit, be yourself and let that creativity flow is very relaxing and very self-fulfilling.”

Pam, participant

“It was absolutely brilliant working with the group. I enjoyed the company, I enjoyed listening to their ideas, listening to other things about people. It was an ideal, perfect time for me.

“It felt brilliant doing something creative, because certain elements of the creativity I didn’t know were within me. So actually to achieve something and have an end product feels really good. To be able to sit, be yourself and let that creativity flow is very relaxing and very self-fulfilling.

“It’s important to have a chance to be creative because you can show your individuality through doing projects. The main thing I’ve learnt is that for me at my time in life I need the company of people in similar situations to myself. And that I’m not actually alone. It’s nice to know you’re in a similar position. Physically you might be alone at times, but you are not alone. You’re part of a community.

“Projects like this turn you into that individual. You are who you are. You’re not just “the carer”. You’re an individual. And you can laugh, you can cry, you can share experiences, you can share your knowledge, and that’s a lifeline.”  

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