Activity group gives Louise a sense of belonging | Latest news

Activity group gives Louise a sense of belonging

A weekly activity group at a local hospital is helping former patient Louise Barker to develop a sense of belonging.

art@pinders is run from Pinderfields Hospital by the charity SPINE - the voice of the Pinderfields Spinal Cord Injured population – and gives current and ex-patients of the Regional Spinal Unit the chance to take part in a range of activities from drawing and sketching to painting and flower arranging, with expert tutors who are also former patients.

Louise was a patient at the unit more than 20 years ago and has been coming to the group for the past year, travelling from Hull.

“I really enjoy coming to this group,” she said. “It makes me feel normal and as though I belong, which is why I make the journey each week. This time I’m trying fresh flower arranging, which is something I’ve never done before. That’s another good thing about coming here, you get to do things you may never have thought about doing.”

The weekly flower arranging session is led by Joyce Harrow, who took up flower arranging when she stopped work after having her son 43 years ago.

“I began attending classes as I thought it would give me a new hobby,” she said, “and became hooked. I became a member of flower arranging clubs and the National Association of Flower Arrangement Societies (NAFAS).

“I then completed a City and Guilds in flower arranging followed by a City and Guilds teaching qualification, a Certificate of Education and before I retired was teaching adults flower arranging at Wakefield Adult Education Service.”

A chance meeting with Kevan Baker, the Chief Executive of SPINE, who set up art@pinders, saw Joyce begin teaching the flower arranging class. Having sustained a life-changing spinal injury herself, in 1967, she understands how beneficial the opportunity to spend time with others in the same position can be.

“When Kevan asked me if I wanted to be part of the group I jumped at the chance. It’s a great way for me to give something back to the hospital which treated me all those years ago and hearing how much people like Louise value their time here is fabulous.”

art@pinders runs in the spinal injury centre dining room at Pinderfields Hospital every Monday, from 2 - 4pm, for those with a spinal injury, at no cost to participants.