Gardening and art help to nurture creative side

Barbara Moody, pictured at the Clockhouse

Barbara Moody, pictured at the Clockhouse

First published in Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Blackbird Leys and Greater Leys. Call me on 01865 425403

THE Clockhouse Project in Greater Leys is gearing up for summer with new activities planned for the warmer months.

The project, which houses several organisations and activities for older people in the Leys, started with the annual fundraising day on Saturday, May 17.

More than 200 people turned out to enjoy jam and pickle stalls and taster sessions in yoga and crafts.

The day raised more than £700 for the Clockhouse, with more than 40 volunteers giving up their time to help the day run smoothly.

Barbara Moody, secretary of the Senior Leys Independent Gardening Organisation, is hoping the open day will have encouraged more people to get outdoors.

The 72-year-old said: “We have about 25 members at the moment, but we always welcome more.

“We have talks on garden-related topics like insects and birds, and for the last four years we’ve tended the Clockhouse courtyard.”

As well as familiar faces, the open day was a chance for new groups to establish themselves.

Thursday was the first session of a new series of monthly drawing lessons, organised by the Leys Community Development Initiative.

Andrew Cherrie, 73, from Potter’s Court, set up the art group last year, initially looking at watercolour painting.

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He said: “This is something that came out of our watercolour group. People want to learn to draw.

“The painting group is shutting down for the summer.

“You have got the better weather coming and there’s other things to do.

“Coming once a week was a little bit much.

“We don’t have a tutor for the painting, but we have an artist who’s coming to teach us.

“We can all benefit from her lessons, she’s a marvellous artist.

“I think I’d like to draw most things. Landscapes, flowers, birds – anything that catches the eye or takes my fancy.”

Clockhouse project development worker Sally Meachim said: “This is something that people have asked to do for quite some time and we want to encourage creativity.”

More than £900 out of the group’s budget has been set aside for the monthly sessions, which will run until September.

Mrs Meachim said: “We had a grant of £7,500 from Oxford City Council towards activities and I’m including the sketching in that. We only charge £1 a session, so it’s affordable for anyone who’s interested.

“We’re aiming for 10 people for every session, and we’re hoping to attract the over-50s from the Leys area.”

The next drawing session is on Thursday, June 19, from 2pm to 4pm at Potter’s Court.

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