We know there are a lot of people in our community who live alone and whose normal routines have been heavily disrupted over the pandemic.
We have been working with 20 people to paint their portraits, which they get to keep, as well as hearing about their lives and anything they wish to share. These conversations have been recorded into interviews which will sit alongside the portraits to offer some insight into local lives we have not yet heard about.
We often hear the phrases "socially isolated", "and "clinically extremely vulnerable" applied to groups of people who remain nameless, faceless and unheard. This project is all about creating a space for stories from people who are often talked about and not heard from on their own terms. It gave people the chance to tell the community who they were, what mattered to them and to get a free, professional portrait done in the process.
We worked with partner organisations to find people who would most benefit from the project and are grateful for the support of Claygate Centre for the Community, Kingston Liberal Synagogue, Milaap Centre, PA Housing and the RC Sherriff Trust.
The impact of the project on participants has included feeling less alone, less isolated and that they are part of this community. Many have commented have much of a boost it has given them and how encouraged they feel that the community is interested in hearing from them and about them. For some it has been a positive step to rebuild social confidence after the pandemic.
Nothing About Us Without Us is a partnership project with Elmbridge Museum who will be supporting us to share these stories in a free exhibition in Esher, running from April-Sept 2022 and holding the interviews in their archives so they will live on to benefit future generations.
An online version of the exhibition is available here.
NAUWU is kindly supported by The National Lottery Community Fund, The Community Foundation for Surrey and Elmbridge Museum.