Tag: National Storytelling Week



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.



81% of unpaid carers experience loneliness and feel isolated through their caring responsibilities.

In the heart of National Storytelling Week, we delve into Lia’s journey through creative:voices our multi-artform project with adult carers. We designed this to alleviate feelings of isolation and enhance wellbeing, enriching carers’ sense of belonging in their community and increasing their confidence in themselves and their abilities.

Lia has taken part in several of our creative:voices projects. We talked to her about her creative writing experience.

Lia’s Story

“I found caring rewarding but it’s sometimes very draining. But it’s something I wanted to do to give back to my parents because they sacrificed so much for us. So, I looked after them. And I enjoyed looking after them. I miss looking after them. I’m caring for my brother at the moment because he’s suffering from depression, unfortunately.”

As Lia reflected on her caring journey, it became evident that the selflessness she shows comes with its challenges, loneliness being one of them.

“Being a carer makes you feel isolated. The focus is on your loved ones, so it’s rewarding to do something for yourself. “


“I enjoyed the project and found it therapeutic. It always brightened my day when I came here. You don’t know what creativity you have until you try it.”

creative:voices provided Lia with a platform to express herself and explore her creativity through writing. While it wasn’t easy at first to put her emotions and her mother’s journey into words, Lia’s determination and the support of the project helped her overcome the initial difficulties. Through this creative outlet, she found a way to rebuild her confidence.

“The creative writing was quite difficult. I wanted to talk about my mum and her journey. That’s what I hoped to do. How she came from Italy on a boat, not knowing English. She was quite poor. That’s what I was trying to do in the creative writing. It was quite hard at first to be honest. I thought ‘I can’t do this. I can’t speak in front of everybody! I can’t express myself! How can I write down on paper my feelings?”

Lia’s determination and the support she received on the project played a key role in her personal growth.

“But [the project has] definitely helped me to build my confidence. I’ve changed from when I first come in in March. My confidence had been knocked basically. It helped me build my confidence to be able express myself on paper and hopefully it will continue.”

Creative writing has had benefits beyond boosting Lia’s confidence, helping her to process and express complex emotions, and contribute to improved mental wellbeing.


“I’ve enjoyed doing things for myself, which I haven’t done for a very long time.”

“Life is short, you’ve got to make the most of it, and I have 20 years left, so I just want to grow and find myself. Find my purpose. Because I’ve lost that. So doing these things has helped me to find my purpose again. It’s helped me grow. I nearly cried there, I’m getting emotional.”

“Hopefully it’s like a stepping stone for my next chapter and my journey will continue into doing volunteering or maybe other things that I’d like to do. “


“I’m a quiet person. I’m shy, but I’m trying to do things that overcome that. I’m helping myself by pushing my boundaries. I’m trying to work on myself.”

“I feel more open [now]. I mean I wouldn’t have been able to talk to you a few months back. I suppose I was very nervous about talking to people. I just felt ‘I can’t approach people, I can’t talk to them. What have I got to say? What of interest have I got to say to people that they would want to talk to me?’ It’s a self-esteem thing. I think [the project has] boosted my self-esteem. My confidence has grown and I’ve enjoyed being creative.”

“It’s a lovely group as well. I’ve really enjoyed working with other people. I’ve enjoyed talking to them. I think I have spoken to everyone. It’s a lovely bunch of people. They’re really friendly and very approachable. I can relate to their situations because I was a carer and I am still a carer.”

“Caring is isolating, because you can’t always go out to do these things. But I’m so glad I did.”

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