You may think of online activities as being passive; where you are just part of an audience watching something. Yet video technology means that we can now do so much more with online creative activities and wellbeing programmes.
The big headline about online creative activities is that they work best when they help people engage with their interests and passions, and build relationships between people. It is better to think about the activities as shared experiences.
We also need to look again at the way we think about creativity. There is still a place for many of the activities that people traditionally think of as creative (art, poetry, drama), but every online experience should be creative. Creativity is all about bringing something new and valuable to another person.
3 top tips – people, participation and some decent Wifi!
There are a lot of different sorts of online creative activities – but three things are key: the people running the activities, the chance to participate, and the technology used.
Let’s start with technology. It is much easier to connect with others when you can see and hear each other properly – Zoom is great for this. You may also need to make sure people have a microphone or a headset if that is easier for them.
People should also be able to join in they way that suits them best – perhaps this is a tablet in their room, or a large TV screen in a communal area for a group quiz. Staff in care communities need to have the confidence to help people get online.
Secondly, online experiences should be live when possible, as people need to be able to contribute and make connections. This might be answering a question, joining in with a song, or sharing a memory. People who join online experiences aren’t an audience.
Thirdly, the people who run the experience need to know how to build relationships. They are there to welcome people, and then provide a friendly space for everyone to speak, share, and contribute. Experience of engaging with people who live in care communities is vital, and it can help to have more than one person available.
Key benefits of being online
Online experiences can offer you a wide range of creative experiences at only a fraction of the costs of face-to-face activities. This can include:
- Deep personalisation – you can get expertise and content that is not available in your care community. For example, you may have someone who is passionate about heritage and culture, but no one else in their care community is. Online experiences can help them to continue to follow this interest and meet other people who share it.
- A way to open up the world – you can offer people a chance to visit somewhere new, even if they don’t leave their room. Online experiences can go anywhere: The Royal Ontario Museum in Canada, a National Trust property in the UK, or to explore another country for the first time.
- A chance to involve family and friends – the whole family can join the same online experience, even if they live far away or find it difficult to visit in person. This way they can contribute and create something together.
At Vibrant Communities, we run live, online creative sessions that provide new opportunities for meaningful engagement for people living in care communities. People can participate in lifelong passions and try new experiences.
There are at least 5 live sessions and tours to choose from each week. One of our regular groups is our poetry club.
For Etta, poetry club has been a way to connect with other people who share her passion for poetry. There are no other poets in her care community, but she has met and made connections with other people across the UK during the regular club.
She has shared her favourite poems with the group, and then they have talked about how they felt about the poem. Sometimes this reminds people about their younger life; about being taught poetry at school.
As well as being less isolated, Etta has also been inspired to write her own original poetry outside the session. She then brings her poems along to the next club and reads them to the group.
See a bit more about poetry group on this short video: https://youtu.be/OMWsFhZ_hk8
Be part of a vibrant community
Our live online activities are now at the core of activities programmes in care communities across the UK. If you’d like to join some of our experiences to see for yourself, you can try 5 taster experiences for free: https://app.vibrantcommunities.co.uk/