The socially inclusive Broadview Together art and craft group has been busily creating projects to support the work of the Royal Adelaide Hospital, Cancer Council, Baptist Care SA and their local community.
Broadview Baptist Church is a member of the Disability Inclusion Network of SA – which evolved from Baptist Care SA’s 2019 Connections Program.
With Heather Hewitson’s background as a registered nurse, including 13 years working in the Disability sector, she chose to redirect her energies into volunteering at her church when she retired. Soon, she had combined her passion for social inclusion with her love of art, developing a community craft group for people of all abilities.
Supported by Sandy Bartel and a dedicated team of volunteers, Broadview Together meets weekly to create an array of creative projects, including macramé, water paints, card making, stamping, crochet and knitting. With 25% of attendees identifying as having a disability, the group is what Heather describes as “intentionally inclusive.”
“We know that sadly there is a correlation between disability and poverty, so we are conscious of keeping the cost of participation minimal. We meet in the café at our church so for $5, participants receive morning tea, a hot drink from our barista and the materials for their projects,” explains Heather.
Activities are tailored to each participant’s strengths and interests. For example, for those with high anxiety, mindfulness colouring has been a popular activity. Colouring has been shown to reduce stress and improve motor skills and well-being and the bright creations are being used to make handmade cards and prints.
All craft made by the group is sold at Broadview Baptist Church and SARAH’s Gift Shop, located at the Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH) with proceeds supporting the RAH Research Fund and the hospital’s Social Work and Counselling Services.
The group has also been involved in organising a Community Christmas Party and a Biggest Morning Tea event and is currently crocheting ‘community blankets’ that they intend to donate to Baptist Care SA.
“We’re a happy, friendly group and we love having a chat, sharing our lives and celebrating achievements…It has been so enriching for us as a group and as a church,” says Heather.
“We’re about seeing abilities in people, not disabilities, and we want to offer a venue for people to come to socialise and learn new skills. We’re doing that and God has really blessed our program – it has brought us all so many blessings.”
If you would like more information about participating in, or volunteering with, Broadview Together, please contact the Broadview Baptist Church via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you, or your church, are interested in sharing ideas about social inclusion and how we can better support people with a disability to participate in our churches, please contact email@example.com.