Storytelling activities provide opportunities for the socially and educationally excluded to take part in cultural experiences that provide a platform for a sense of community, inclusion, and understanding. We all have a story to tell, and storytelling can provide a valuable means of self-expression and communication, as well as building confidence and self-esteem and combating feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Handmade Tales was an eight-week project that offered carers and those experiencing mental health problems some ‘time out’ in the form of storytelling sessions. Facilitated by storyteller Claire Hewitt, these Handmade Tales sessions gave the carers the opportunity to socialise with people going through similar experiences, have some much needed ‘me time’ and find a voice to tell their own stories. This helped them to reconnect and rebuild stronger relationships with family and friends – especially with the person the care for.
Claire led participants through a programme of storytelling and arts and craft activities all linked to the theme of spring. Whilst the hands were busy felting, stitching, thumping clay or making bread, stories were shared. Storytelling and the accompanying handwork gave participants the skills to express who they are, help them reconnect with forgotten dreams and celebrate life and the growth of something new. These sessions gave the carers the opportunity just to have a break away from their caring role, and act as a reminder that they too are important and they need to look after themselves.
This project was in collaboration with Support in Mind Scotland and the Scottish Storytelling Centre and supported by the Scottish Government ‘Short Breaks Fund.