Crafting Connections – From 📦Unboxing to Many Incredible Friendships 🤗

Grab your party poppers and a piece of cake – we’re celebrating! 🎉

It’s been four fun-filled months since we 👋 waved goodbye 👋 to our very first batch of Crafting Connections packs (bit of a proud project parent moment –
NGL, we teared up a bit).

Since then, team Heath and Iris has formed 🧒👵and illustrator ✍️ Nick Sharratt (of Tracey Beaker fame) has become an ambassador. Oh, and we also made comedian’s Josh Widdicombe’s wife, Rose, cry 😬. It’s all good news however, as it all happened on Rob and Josh’s parenting podcast ‘Parenting Hell’, when they gave Crafting Connections a shout out (listen to the Podcast here, from 48:07 onwards).

Reader, whether parent or care home coordinator – if you’re still sat on the fence about joining us, we’d like to take you with us on the monthly journey of a Crafting Connections pack. Starting with those three hits of happy 😊😊😊 for the younger
members of our pairs…

Happy Hit #1

Kids CREATE a unique piece of artwork for their new friend (their older pal does the same). It all starts with the unboxing…

Then comes the crafting!

For the very first pack, both the child and the older person will create a self-portrait. It goes a little like this…

After that? Well, so far we’ve painted, stuck, coloured in, cut out. We’ve created bracelets, crowns, stained glass windows, flags and masks. Just like these…

If you want to try the stained glass window craft, follow along with Crafting Connections’ participant Elspeth, aged 6. And for even more crafts, check out the Crafting Connections Pinterest board, where you’ll discover everything from ladybug handprints to Chinese lanterns.

Happy Hit #2

Next up, the trip to the postbox – where our kiddy crafters feel GOOD as they post their creation off (they know they’re making a BIG difference to their new friend’s life).

Happy Hit #3

Now for the exciting part! Back at care homes throughout the UK, the older pals of our younger participants have also been busy. Like these happy folk from Summerdale Court Care Home in London and other care homes in the UK.

So, naturally, our crafting kids 😊SMILE😊 when their friend’s artwork drops through
their door. Like these little ones…

For the second month after a child signs up, an envelope arrives containing their older friend’s questionnaire. THIS is when they start to get to know their new pal.
Isn’t that right, Marcea? 👉👉👉

At this point, you may be wondering what happens when a child’s hard work
arrives at their friends. 

Well, in a word – 🪄MAGIC! See for yourself…

And after ALL of that – there are some pretty important benefits within those Crafting Connections packs that *might* not be quite so obvious…

For children, Crafting Connections…

1. Places value on older generations

2. Develops artistic, creative and language skills

3. Teaches kindness, empathy and compassion

4. Post and goodies every month (kids love post!)

For older people, Crafting Connections…

1. Reduces loneliness and social isolation

2. Feel-good factor of contributing to a child’s development

3. An enriching, engaging activity with a purpose

4. Builds a keepsake of memories as the friendship grows

Time to meet some of our brand-new friends…

With every pack we post, there’s something EVEN MORE important than the crafts and tasks. The friendship questionnaire – a few Qs which everyone answers, helps our pairs get to know each other.

Every month we feature a heart-warming  Friendship of the Month on our website. Here’s a round up of some of the new-found pals who’ve been paired through Crafting Connections.

Evie (age 9) & Cecily (age 90)

Evie and Cecily have been getting to know each other – bonding from afar over topics like hobbies, and their thoughts of what makes a good friend.

Having friends and receiving letters makes Cecily happy, while Evie counts 💻 games and walking her 🐶 among her smile-makers.

Heath (age 5) & Iris (age 88)

“I wonder what Iris is going to send me?’’ – Heath, age 5

Heath (age 5) loves superheroes🦸‍♂️, ballet🩰, chocolate🍫 and waking up early⏰

He’d like to get better at whistling 😗.

His Crafting Connection pal is 89-year-old Iris. 

Iris also loves dancing💃and used to be able to do the jive. She’d like to be better at singing 👩‍🎤and her husband tells us the thing she is best at is chatting and laughing 🤣

“Heath is beautiful and I love the picture he did for me, tell Heath I cannot whistle either!”
– Iris, age 89

Here they both are with each other’s self-portraits.

For four months, Iris and Heath have formed a friendship over letters, pictures and little extras they’ve chosen to add along with their craft creation and questionnaire (Iris sent a crocheted spring chick, while Heath sent a friendship bracelet he’d made). 

Heath often talks about Iris and wonders what she’s getting up to, and Crafting Connections has provided opportunities to discuss topics like ageing, care homes, and reducing loneliness in a positive, age-appropriate way. 

Seth (age 3) and Pat (age 77)

Seth’s mum told us that his face lights up when he gets his post! 🤩
Here’s what else she had to say…

“Seth always says ‘Is it for me? Is it from Pat?’

I’ve just asked him if he likes making pictures for Pat and he said “that’s my favourite part because my craft will make Pat happy!” I wasn’t expecting him to have that understanding! He’s shocked me there!”

And Pat loves being friends with Seth just as much…

“Seth is so talented and makes me such lovely gifts, I’m going to treasure my clay flower forever!”

Joyce (age 87) and Elspeth (age 6)

Despite the 81 year age gap they have lots in common. Joyce and Elspeth both enjoy reading 📖 and watching 📺. and said that being a good friend is all about kindness 💖.

Joyce loves to spend time with her son, grandchildren and great granddaughter Ella 👪. Family is important to Elspeth too, especially the latest addition,
her new baby cousin Hugo 👶.

We asked, our Crafting Connections’
Parents Answered…

Why did you decide to join Crafting Connections?

“I was looking for activities to do with my child and wanted those activities to have a positive impact on the community”.

“It’s really important for children to get to know people from other walks of life and generations, the pandemic has meant that my children didn’t get to interact with as many different people so this is a great way to rectify that”.

“My grandma was in a care home and I know how much she would have loved this! My girls love arts and crafts and to give them a purpose and audience for their creations is just amazing! They are loving finding out about Marlene and waiting for post too!”

“I wanted to do something for a charity that my 5 year old Eddie could also be part of and this looked perfect”.

What do you hope to gain from signing up to Crafting Connections?

“My daughter to develop a better understanding of how others live and experience the world”.

“For my girls to understand the importance of community and looking after people and learning from each other. The importance of acts of kindness to make others smile and the joy it brings all round”.

“Initially I just wanted to help someone else… but now I realise the benefits for my child as well… he really does want to make Mary happy with his creations”.

Sign Up a Child

A donation of £10* per month, for those who can afford it, helps fund Crafting Connections and The Together Project CIO’s other life-changing charity work.

Sign up your child

Sign Up Your Care Home Residents

Coming up in the not so distant future will be themes around seasons, smiles and celebrations
(we’ll keep it vague – we like to ensure that when that pack lands on the mat, what’s inside
is kept a bit of a surprise!).

A donation of £10 per month funds Crafting Connections for as many residents as you wish.

Sign up your care home

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