50 people attended our co-production group’s art showcase event at our Basis Gateshead homeless drop-in two weeks ago. Named ‘Ta-da day’, the group unveiled a range of projects that they had been working on for the past 6 months which incorporated themes such as home, community and the cost-of-living.
Local artist Chris Dominiczak helped the group design one of the larger pieces. As well as showcasing art during the event, the day also featured the unveiling of other projects that the co-production group had been working on including a memorial quilt to commemorate people that the co-production people had lost (below left) and a cost-of-living cookbook.
Refreshments were also supplied on the day, with beautiful cakes handmade and delivered by local business House of Cakes.
The value in co-production
Our co-production group is made up of people who are either currently, or have previously been supported by us. At each fortnightly meeting these experts by experience (EBE’s) discuss ways in which we can improve the services we provide; a vital component our ability to develop as a charity that tackles homelessness.
The biggest project unveiled at the event was a large art piece (below right). As part of the project, each member of the co-production group shared what the words ‘home’ and ‘community’ mean to them. These words then formed the ‘waves’ around a central design incorporating elements of each of the areas of the country where we support people facing homelessness including: Gateshead, Sunderland, South Tyneside, Southwark and Peterborough.
By incorporating ideas from the group, the art piece seeks to shine a light on the value of listening to the people we support.
Giving the people we support a voice
Co-production worker Amanda Pattinson explained what the event meant to the group: ‘The group’s art projects have created a sense of belonging, with group-members being invited to express their voices, knowledge and many talents, through various works of art.
‘The co-production group feels real pride in the hard work they have collaborated on. During this time they have built up their own confidence, they’ve self-developed, created healthy relationships, all whilst having fun in the process.
‘Often excluded in the past due to their circumstances of experiencing homelessness, events like this create a space for the fabulous people we support to truly feel included, and they all truly deserve a day to shine.’
One of the group’s members, David Service, has been attending the group regularly since it began earlier this year. David described what the co-production group, and the ‘ta-da day’ art showcase event means to him: ‘I’ve sort of been involved in the co-production group with Mandy (Amanda) since day one. It’s just been a tremendous experience, and its helping me move on basically.’
A successful event
A celebration of all of their efforts, ‘Ta-da day’ symbolised what can be achieved when we involve the people we have supported in our work. Most importantly, the event represented a sense of belonging, with Amanda Pattinson explaining: ‘It’s all to do with inclusion, for our people to feel like they belong, and it’s been absolutely amazing to see the group blossom.’