Card making for men isn't something I ever expected to be doing, especially when those men are young men in a supported housing scheme waiting for housing.
To be honest I thought it was going to be terrible, that they'd hate it and nobody would show up. In fact it was a really rewarding experience for myself and it had a positive impact on the wellbeing of the young men who took part too, as we found out from their feedback...
We were asked to put on some craft sessions by the Volunteer Coordinator at a temporary supported housing scheme for homeless adults with complex needs.
She had decided to run craft sessions one evening a week in the run up to Christmas, with plenty of mince pies and hot chocolate donated from local shops. She wanted to get residents out of their flats "doing something", not isolating themselves at a time when the world is telling everyone it's a time for families and fun - what if you don't have any family or you can't get along with yours for various reasons, or you don't even have a 'home' in which to get all warm and cosy in at Christmas...
We have written before about the craft sessions we did for these guys (and the fact I was completely surprised that the sessions did turn out to be "card making for men", not women). Here I share the perspective of the Coordinator as to why she thought crafting and creativity would be a good idea for residents with complex needs.
Although we eventually received donations of craft supplies, the card making and craft activities were mostly based around our printables as they could be reprinted as many times as needed depending on who came to the group and what they wanted to do.
Activities we completed in the group included:
Card making for men isn't as unusual as it may seem. Yes women might be the usual target audience for the craft industry but there are plenty of men who purchase our printables and as we found, even young men aren't afraid of making cards, which I assumed they'd just laugh at and walk out.
Maybe it was just our group who were receptive to it? I've seen been contacted by people who work in similar community and prison settings with young offenders who say the same - they do craft classes where men are making handmade cards and they love it, for the same reasons outlined above: it's a chance to throw off adulthood, 'play' and be creative, gives them something to do, they can express themselves and it helps them reconnect with feelings and family.