Residents of Jubilee Court, a Group scheme in Bracknell, Berkshire, have been spending their summer getting to know each other through a series of creative workshops.
Sponsored by Southern Housing Group and run in partnership with Together We Create (TWC), a charity that encourages stronger, more sustainable communities through creative workshops across London and the South East, the three-month programme brought together members of the often isolated community here.
The programme, which ran over eight weeks with activities taking place roughly three times a week, involved residents in events such as a Wimbledon-themed afternoon tea, quiz night, and community BBQ. Residents also had the chance to work alongside an art therapist to create a series of artworks to be displayed in a newly refurbished communal lounge on the scheme.
Jubilee Court was originally one of our Sheltered Housing schemes; following the introduction of a range of tenures, the original residents of the scheme began to feel marginalised and isolated from one another.
Regional Operations Manager, Janet Ashby, and Resident Services Manager, Brenda Harris, saw a valuable opportunity to re-establish social cohesion among these older residents and encourage the community support that had been waning.
They were introduced to TWC by Sahil Khan, Head of Community Investment South, who also helped secure funding from Southern Housing Group for the project.
With the help of Jubilee Court Residential Caretaker, John Vince, TWC led a three-stage programme designed to bring residents together:
Introducing residents to the project and asking for their input
Developing community events run collaboratively between residents and TWC
Creating a final piece of artwork for Jubilee Court’s communal lounge
The resident-created artwork celebrates the history of Jubilee Court and represents the aspirations of its residents about the type of community they want to help build in the future. It was unveiled during a ceremony on 2 September that marked the conclusion of the TWC programme.
The project has been an outstanding success and has fostered a culture of longer-term, established residents welcoming those who are new to the scheme. Following the unveiling, residents will continue to build on and take ownership of the activities they have been enjoying over the summer.
One resident, Alistair, who has been living at Jubilee Court for 18 years, said: “The sessions we’ve had have been interesting and entertaining. I don’t tend to join in with things, but I’ve taken part in this and I feel like this has planted the germ of something that will continue to grow.”
Sarah Hoyle from TWC, who worked alongside residents throughout the summer programme, said: “I’ve been running projects for 15 years now, and Jubilee Court has been one of the most successful because residents have been so generous with their time and efforts, and have had such a high level of motivation to make it work. There’s no wrong answer with creativity, so you can’t make mistakes. It’s about trying and experimenting and is a wonderful way of expressing yourself in a gentle, non-threatening way.”
Brenda said: “We’re confident we’ll be leaving a group of energised community champions who will help continue these activities with a little help and support from local staff.”
You can see images of the activities that Jubilee Court residents took part in here, and more about Together We Create can be found at www.togetherwecreate.org.uk
For enquiries, please contact:
Mary Weeks Communications Manager Southern Housing Group 0207 553 6841