A 17-year-old sixth former has been brightening the lives of residents of a supported living scheme by sharing her gift for art.

Charlotte Froud has started an online art class for residents at The Old Bake House in Chadlington, managed by charity The Abbeyfield Society.

Charlotte, who created the online Silver Lining Gallery to raise money for sick children’s charity Make-A-Wish UK  during the first lockdown, has been exploring some basic sketching techniques with residents and will work with them on other forms of art as they progress.

Charlotte said: “It’s especially important now to engage with people who have been isolated during lockdown. The idea of running this class came from a conversation I had with my friends, when we talked about the things we had missed doing during the pandemic.

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“I thought it must have been doubly hard for older people, many of whom haven’t been able to go outside or have visitors come to see them. I jumped at the chance to connect with some Abbeyfield residents and share my passion."

One resident who attended Charlotte’s classes said: “I’m really enjoying them. My drawing isn’t as good as it used to be but I’m sure Charlotte can help us all to improve and create our own masterpieces!”

Charlotte added: “I’ve really enjoyed hearing the residents talk about their lives during our sessions. They have some great, inspiring stories to tell and hopefully we will be able to explore their own experiences through art further down the line.”

Although currently working towards A-Levels in maths, chemistry and biology, and hoping to go on to study medicine at university, Charlotte , a student at Ardingly College in Haywards Heath, West Sussex,  says that she has always been passionate about art.

And she has found that her classes have not only helped to develop the residents’ skills, but boosted their self-confidence.

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She recalled: “In our first session there was one lady who brought in some paintings she had made many years ago. She was certain that she had lost some of her abilities more recently and hadn’t explored her artistic side for a while.

“It was wonderful to see her starting to engage with and enjoy her natural talent again, and I’m looking forward to seeing how all the residents progress in the coming weeks.”

The online classes, which have been held over video calls, have presented their own challenges.

Charlotte explained: “The first thing I asked them to paint was a vase of daffodils that was on the table in front of me. I think something must have gotten lost in translation as they painted the daffodils along with me and the room behind me!”

The Old Bakehouse manager Emma Steele said: “It’s wonderful to see our residents come to light and do something they love, to see what they have created and to show it off to their families.

"Charlotte is doing a fantastic job and, especially after the year we’ve had, it’s great for her to be willing to chat to the residents, always with a big smile on her face.”

Visit Charlotte’s website at www.silverlininggallery.org