Louise Smith – 24th April 2019
Louise is an Occupational Therapist in the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust
How many times have your work colleagues said ‘Let’s get together for a ‘crafty ‘evening soon!’ And then times goes on, life goes on ….and it just doesn’t happen. That was us, a small rural based NHS employed team. All busy people with work and home life, who enjoy the occasional quick lunch at the local cafe as time to share a break and have a laugh.
I am an occupational therapist and know the value of meaningful, purposeful activity, but rarely seemed to apply it to myself. Then, after a bout of time off work with depression, I rediscovered the joy of getting into the ‘flow’ by doing crafty things, and learning to crochet. My mood improved and I was able to get back to work, but I really missed the regular sessions of losing myself in a crochet or craft project.
What if I could incorporate a bit of ‘craftiness’ in my working day with colleagues?
So that was the start of ‘Powercraft’! A tongue in cheek reference to using craft to power us up.
Initially sessions were a random 10 minutes with 4- 6 of us sitting down together to try out a needle felting. We all noticed a benefit, feeling invigorated and appreciated. It also helped improve hand/eye coordination, as those needles are very sharp indeed! Some people were very keen, experienced crafters, and other keen to learn, and a few were drawn in.
After a few weeks we decided 10 minutes wasn’t long enough, so we booked a room and asked other teams within the building to join us over a Friday lunchtime. We now have a regular Friday slot open to any staff member to come along, with up to 8 regularly attending. Staff from a nearby doctors’ surgery are also keen to join, which should help with networking as well as being a fun break from the norm.
It has taken some effort on my part to gather people, craft ideas, and materials. Luckily, I had a good stash of craft stuff at home to raid! We have done small activities such as making boxes and decorating, Christmas wreaths, embroidered felt, needle felting and cutting out patterns with scalpels. Now colleagues bring in things we may use and we have drawn up a list of things we would all like to try during future sessions, ranging from crochet, air dry clay, jewellery making, quilling, weaving and drawing.
I devised a short feedback form to gather information about mood before and after the Powercraft session and noted people generally felt an improvement.
“…brings us together as a team…”
“Really wasn’t keen on coming to work but the thought of Power craft spurred me on”.
I’ve noticed there’s a ‘buzz’ about craft now in the workplace. Our team was strong and supportive and I think Powercraft helps to maintain it. It is something that has been looked upon by managers and at our recent inspection as a positive support for staff. We have recently applied to our staff lottery fund, (which helps staff welfare projects), for £100 to buy a stock of basic craft materials to last throughout the year.
Powercraft has brought us together through the medium of craft. We share knowledge and skills and with a delivery of bacon sandwiches from the local cafe, have a fun lunch break once a week! It’s something that could be implemented in any work base, so why not give it a go