Covid 19 has brought about a lot of change and uncertainty for everyone including us and our team. One of our members, a part of the CoActive Arts family, Dan, explains how he worried at first with how he would cope to now... he is making the most of staying at home by adapting his schedule during this difficult time.
"How my new week looks currently compared to my old week"
I’ve been used to going to five different groups in different places. However, everyone’s being told to stay at home, unless it’s essential that they go out, so I’ve had to make changes , but I’m trying to make the most of my time while being at home...
Here’s how my new life looks:
Mondays: I do some social media training over Skype, with someone who knows a lot about this, and I’m learning to say I’ve finished, because obviously they can’t see when I’ve finished doing something.
Tuesdays: I try to either have a chill day, or try and do some website work for my parents’ printing business.
Wednesdays: I have a 40 minute Zoom meeting with a couple of CoActive staff and members, and we tend to share news, discuss arrangements for the DVD and if there’s anything we’d like to include in the DVD. I also have some more social media training over Skype.
Thursdays: I have an online drama session with one of the artists at CoActive on the CoActive Facebook page, and this is all about us typing ideas up for whatever they have said, this usually lasts for about an hour. I also try and have a read through my lines ready for my theatre group meeting on Fridays, which I’ll explain below.
Fridays: I have a 40 minute Zoom meeting with my theatre group called In The Sky, and we share one piece of news and then we have a line readthrough and we have to try stay quiet, when others are talking, otherwise it goes wrong. I also have some more social media training over Skype. On a Friday night, I relax have a drink and watch a bit of TV.
Saturdays and Sundays: These have changed a lot since coronavirus started, as I have to watch some old football games to fill the void of no sport, which is OK I suppose, but not as good as the current football which I miss badly. But I do get to watch things on TV that I would have had to record and watch on a Sunday morning.
My old week used to look like this:
Monday – Go to do social media session with Sophie in the morning, then football and multi-sports on a Monday night.
Tuesday- Volunteer as a coffee shop assistant at Barnsley hospital on a Tuesday morning, then on a Tuesday night I would go out for tea and a game of bowling with GT Care.
Wednesday – I would go to WWMC to CoActive and do their sessions from 10am-3pm
Thursday - I would go to WWMC to CoActive and do their sessions from 10am-3pm
Friday – I would get picked up by a 1:1 on a Friday morning, and I’d go to Into the Sky theatre group at Pontefract Racecourse from 10am-2pm
Saturday: I’d watch my sport all day, then get ready to go to Carlton Club with GT Care on a Saturday night.
Sunday: I’d either go to a Featherstone Rovers game in person, or I’d listen to them if they were on BBC Radio Leeds. I would then write a blog post for my sports blog on the game.
How has your week changed?
At CoActive we have been really busy making plans while we are stuck at home during the Coronavirus outbreak. We are very grateful to receive a grant from The Wakefield Coronavirus VCS Resilience Fund (from Wakefield Clinical Commissioning Group of the NHS administered by NOVA) to do work in order to encourage people to stay at home and to support their mental and physical wellbeing.
Starting with our current members, but also reaching out to others, our focus is supporting people who have learning difficulties by:
Making regular telephone contact with CoActive members.
Conducting a weekly live online session, currently Drama Story Creation.
Creating and delivering a weekly magazine type programme on DVD every week.
Click here for online version of Episode 1 'CoActive at Home.'
Many of our members do not have internet access, IT equipment, or the ability to use it at home and so are especially isolated. Many of these also live alone! All are able to play DVDs at home (and easy to set up if not), so our plan is to deliver a DVD pack every week. The deliveries will contain activity resources and we will develop a lending library of CDs, books etc, making the most of our weekly drop. We hope that this will work give meaningful activity and connect us while separated.
Our leading artists will work across their disciplines in the arts to bring stay at home activities, especially in Dance, Drama and Art. We hope the DVD format will help in creating structured activity and a structured day. Unlike mainstream TV shows of this kind we can build and draw on activities people have participated in during groups and to a certain extent we will have feedback to inform future content. For example a photograph taken on the doorstep of art work produced can lead to ideas for the next content.
The weekly magazine programme will be sent out in two forms. We are hoping to have features where CoActive members will contribute their news, feelings and creative input. Being careful with the sensitive nature of what people might share, the online content will have much less of this. The hope for the DVD distribution is to create a connected community of friends who are hearing from each other and sharing in the same creative activities. From sending in photos and videos, to relaying messages/greetings via telephone support. We are hoping that support workers, friends and family will play a key role too.
CoActive Arts who work with adults with learning difficulties in Wakefield, West Yorkshire offer creative movement, dance and drama sessions as well as life skills.
Here one of the group members Dan shares what happens in a session:
Creative things to do for adults with Learning difficulties
The sessions are: Creative dance/movement and Art
Dance and Singing
On a Wednesday morning, we split into two groups: Creative dance and Art. The creative dance group come up with ideas of what they want to dance about. At the moment, the creative dance group are working on movements for a musical they could do. Recently, the creative dance group created a piece that they performed at the Ridings, which was based on four things: Twist, Crumple, Stretch and rise and fall. The Art group do art based on what the dancers are doing, so for example Our project at the moment is based on musicals, so the art group are doing art based on that. What I love about the creative dance session is that for the last 2 projects, we’ve done something different to our usual performances, which is perhaps making us think more. We do this session from 10:30am until 12:30pm.
On a Wednesday afternoon, our session is Personal development and wellbeing . So at the moment, we’ve been asked to do some artwork by someone called Tony Wade based on the four standards at the NHS, because he told us that too many people with learning difficulties were dying at the NHS, so he’s working with groups across Yorkshire to create some artwork that define these four standards. Me and 2 other CoActive members made sculptures out of wire to show that people were involved with each other, which I thought was a really good thing to make, as I hadn’t done anything to do with wire for a while. Some of the other things that CoActive were planning to do on a Wednesday afternoon have had to be put to one side, for a while but they include: doing table top games, going for a walk somewhere, visiting farms and some other interesting stuff. What I love about this session is that we will be able to get out and about once this crisis is over, and do these fun type of activities. We also occasionally have Steering Group meetings, which is where the core group on a Wednesday discuss what type of decisions we should be making at CoActive. These sessions are from 1:30pm until 3pm on a Wednesday afternoon.
On a Thursday morning, our session is Drama. What we do in this session is we start off by doing a physical warmup, followed by a vocal warmup. Then we may play a few games to get our brains warmed up, and then we either do drama based on ideas from people or at the moment we’re doing scriptwriting that may or may not be used in our musical.
On a Thursday afternoon, our session is Twist and Shout. It’s a little party like atmosphere as before the day opps people come, people can choose a song to put on, or they can sing a particular song. And then the line dancing starts and we do a few linedances, led by Mel or someone else if they know the moves.
Cotton Eyed Joe,
Achy Breaky Heart/Don’t be Cruel (we alternate)
Then we have a 5 minute juice break where people can sing a song if they want to, and then after the juice break, we do one more line dance called Waka Waka
Then we do some bellydancing, and here’s what we bellydance to:
Spirit in the Sky
Hips Don’t Lie
Reggaeton Lento or Subeme La Radio
Then we finish with Happy which is another line dance, and then we have a cool down song which is: Let them be Little.
Then to end the session, usually Anne, Barry or me sing a song to two.
What I love about this session is that people enjoy it, and they have a smile on their face and it makes them feel good about themselves.
This session usually begins at 1:30pm and runs until 3pm.