The Outstanding Activities Competition Spring Winner is…[drum roll]…

Samantha Kalarus – Ash Court Care Centre (Forest Healthcare)

...for generating creativity & growth, demonstrating responsibility & generosity and sparking multi-level leadership with her and her Home’s subsequent use of the Winter Arts box. 

Reflecting on a latent opportunity to introduce and further enhance participants’ use of imagination during art and craft exercises, Samantha led discussions with residents on art and favoured artists. An important change she implemented as an outcome of these discussions had her enabling residents to create their own works, rather than simply colour preselected images.

Inspired by these works, she resourced “good quality frames” and began displaying them in a gallery format. Noticing the capacity for further growth, transformation and extensive impact, she pitched the idea of more widely sharing the residents’ work, putting on a “proper gallery opening. PROPER, with someone from Head Office opening it!”

Head Office were contacted, cheese, wine and crackers were sourced, a photographer was present and the opening made it into the illustrious pages of “The Carer” magazine (to view the article, please visit:! So inspired was one reader that he/she anonymously donated art materials to the home, and others have come forward enquiring about buying some of the works!

“A roaring success,” Sammy unassumingly describes it. “We now have an art gallery of residents’ pictures and this will be an ongoing process.”

This round of competition also saw Vanessa Duggan – Hamble Heights (Encore Care) – Commended for involving colleagues and building the home community

Vanessa entered the competition with painting onto canvas inspired by the winter arts box, and a vibrant fish-n-chips event. Her entry using the Westerns box demonstrates playfulness, wide reaching engagement and a polished end product: 

"The result was fabulous. Many residents, family members and staff got involved, dressing up as cowboys, Indians shooting each other, holding props and having fun. We also asked staff to dress up as cancan dancers, where we showed the residents a dance. We did this on all 4 floors getting as many people involved as much as possible…even our home cat! The home was full of fun and we made our comic A3 size for all to read and look at the pictures."

Great work all; and fabulous demonstrations of the capacity for transformation and connection and growth that can be enjoyed through well-crafted activities!

Elliott Grigg