Image of a multi-media artwork of a beach scene

Creating art in the evenings was a really good group activity

“Client Involvement happens daily”

I manage a registered care service for seven clients who have high dependency, complex physical and health needs, and profound learning disabilities.

The main corridor in this service is really long and we wanted to liven it up and make it more homely. We already had some art on the walls but I wanted something that was personal, that looked like proper artwork, and that the clients could get involved in making.

In the New Year, I spoke to a couple of members of staff who are good at art and told them my vision of creating pictures that would also be tactile and sensorially appealing as one of the clients is blind.

They really came through! We have three pieces of art depicting different scenes – a cityscape, forest, and beach. We’ve got one more planned!

This was a great project for clients to get involved in. They went on a shopping trip with a member of staff to get the art supplies and then we would create the art in the winter evenings after dinner on the communal kitchen table.

Each evening involved different clients. Some were more hands on, whilst others sat and watched.

With the cityscape, clients painted the whole canvas navy blue using sponges and then a Support Worker cut out the felt buildings which the clients then stuck onto the picture. To create the forest picture, two clients went down to Friston Forest to collect branches as a day activity!

It’s really made a difference to the space and we’ve also added large canvas portraits of the clients living here. Clients are touching the pictures and it would definitely be something we’d do again in the future.

At learning disability services like ours, we have very busy periods during the day with personal care in the morning, dinner times, and bedtimes. That’s why creating art in the evenings was a really good group activity because you can have two staff supporting four clients whilst the other Support Workers are supporting one-to-one elsewhere.

Client Involvement happens daily through active support, but staff take for granted all that they do and don’t always recognise that they’re doing it. This year we’re going to focus on active support even more and we have a communal board displayed to celebrate what we already do.


Southdown manages five care homes registered with the Care Quality Commission for people with learning disabilities. Accommodation and support are provided together as a full package of care. Our staff provide 24 hour support for people with personal care, mobility, health, behavioural and communication support needs.