Rashmi (52) is the primary carer for her son Richard (27), who has ASD (autism spectrum disorders). They live in Hackney on a limited income: she had to leave her job in the civil service due to her own health problems. Here, she talks about her experience of creative:release, Create’s multi-artform project for adult carers in Hackney.
“I have been coming to the centre since 1987. I started attending shortly after Richard’s birth to get support, share ideas and meet new people. I’m involved with a mixture of activities, such as celebrations and exercise classes, although I mainly go to support group meetings. I like the centre, it’s an open place where you can always ask questions and it’s a way to meet other carers and professionals.
“I first learnt about creative:release through Valuing Carers, a group I attend at the centre, and the project has been wonderful! You don’t have to be artistic. Even if you’re not confident [in your art skills] you can attempt things, no one’s going to tell you off! I’ve enjoyed meeting new people. It’s nice to meet other carers and see what they’re going through, too. I tell everyone and anyone about it so they can join in!
“The ‘Seasons of Life’ theme was a challenge. When we first thought about it, my brain was overloaded! There are so many different ideas! But then you pick little things and you create. Sheridan [Create’s sculptor] has been wonderful. She’s introduced us to how to share your ideas and use your ideas in different formats. She’s taught us that you don’t need to be Picasso! I really enjoyed sharing ideas and looking at how you’re going to develop the final piece. I’m enjoying putting the final touches to [the sculpture] and hopefully that will be it!
“Projects like this are important because they develop people’s skills and open you out to your local community. They help to create a network of people and you can have fun. I want to let the government know that despite the cuts we can still have fun! The project has given me time away not to think about the cuts. You should invite Prince Harry, William, Kate and Boris Johnson to come and see what we’ve done!”
This story is from 2013.