Arts and craft sessions being held at Hightown Housing Association’s extra care housing scheme in Aylesbury are proving to be a real boost to the wellbeing of both residents and local people who are welcome to attend.

The ‘Creations’ sessions take place every Tuesday and Thursday (10am-1pm) at The Elms in Verwood Road, where most of the tenants supported by Hightown are aged over 55 and have mental health difficulties.

Activities include painting, making greeting cards, painting plant pots and building bird and insect boxes for the garden at The Elms. They have also recently knitted hats for babies at the Special Care Baby Unit at Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

Hightown aims to support the tenants of its 28 self-contained flats at The Elms to live a good quality of life, which is as independent as possible. Other activities include gardening, bingo, a walking group and a knitting group.

The charitable organisation is delighted that its Creations sessions have helped forge friendships between its tenants and those living in the local community – at a time when Mental Health Awareness Week (which runs from May 16-22), recognises the value of healthy and supportive relationships as a key to good mental health.

Sharon Hobbs, Hightown’s Operations Manager at The Elms, said:  “New members at Creations are always welcome. If you want to rediscover your love of arts and crafts and build your social network in a warm and welcoming environment, then please do give us a call to register your place.”

The first two sessions are free! Each session thereafter costs just £4.50 and includes a light lunch. You can register your place or find out more by calling 01296 381435.

Aylesbury resident Mags Parker, who has been attending Creations for nearly a year, said: “The staff are wonderful here and I have really enjoyed meeting all the residents - I’m happy to call them my friends. They even invite me along to other events like birthday parties.

“I enjoy making cards and crafts for the stall. I would recommend coming along because not only do you meet new people, it’s a great opportunity to learn some new skills and different crafts you might not have tried before. It’s a lovely place, you are made to feel welcome the minute you walk in the door.”

Sherry Foster, who also lives locally in Aylesbury, agreed: “The atmosphere at the Elms is great – I really enjoy meeting new people and learning new craft skills. I’ve learnt to knit again – I’m making hats for babies at the Special Care Unit.

“I live on my own so it was a good opportunity to get out of the house and meet new people. The staff and residents are wonderful – they treat us like we live here.”

Resident Paul* said: “I’ve been coming to Creations for around four years now. I really enjoy doing the Painting by Numbers – it takes me around six months to do each painting.

“It’s very satisfying when I finish a painting. I frame my best paintings and hang them up on my wall in my flat. I enjoy painting and working as part of a group and the lunch is always very nice afterwards.”

And fellow resident Richard* added: “I enjoy colouring in pictures and also making bird and insect boxes for the garden. We do get quite a lot of birds in our garden so it’s nice to sit and watch them. I also enjoy doing some gardening on a Friday.”

* not their real names.