Some of the stones had pictures on, some had happy words like ‘smile’ and two had invites to people to help them get around the world; one thing they all had in common was that people would hopefully feel excitement at finding them
How residents of a supported housing scheme found a creative way to make people smile by decorating stones
Pathways is a specialist supported housing scheme in Bexhill for people with mental health issues. Kate Poyser, scheme manager, works hard to find activities which support the residents in their recovery and general wellbeing, including taking regular exercise by walking along the seafront.
Jane (not her real name), one of the customers at Pathways, takes up the story…
“Amy, a bank worker, came into Pathways with some large stones. They were to decorate a book shelf we were making and Amy and some of the other residents started painting the stones. They turned into all sorts of things including fish, a rabbit, islands and fruit. In all we painted around 30 stones but lost count towards the end!
“Many of us enjoy going on regular dog walks with the staff. Kate, Pathways’ manager, suggested hiding some of the stones around Bexhill for people to find. She set off with some of us and we had a great time finding some brilliant hiding places – like in the change slot of a ticket machine at the railway station, plant pots and even on a model car.
“Some of the stones had pictures on, some had happy words like ‘smile’ and two had invites to people to help them get around the world. One thing they all had in common was that people would hopefully feel excitement at finding them and they would be directed to a Facebook page called Bexhill Happy Stones, where they could post photos or messages. So far a few have been found and it’s great that people have then re-hidden the stones for others to find. I can’t wait to see how far how some of our stones may travel – it’s all rather intriguing and very exciting!
“We like the fact that people might feel happy if they find a stone and we could cheer someone up if they feel down. We didn’t have great artistic skills but all the stones looked fantastic and colourful. If this gets a great response we are planning to paint more over the winter so we can hide them in spring and summer. So far one of our stones has turned up in Kings Cross, another in Germany and one was even found in Italy, returned to London and has now been taken to Thailand! It’s brilliant that we can follow them around the world.
“If you fancy doing a free activity this is really fun and easy to do; or if you fancy a day out, head to Bexhill on Sea, you might be lucky enough to find one of our stones!”
Kate recognises the benefits to her customers of finding activities to support their wellbeing and recovery; “When people are struggling with their mental health, it can be really difficult to find the motivation to get out and about in the local community, recognise the importance of regular exercise and connect with people. This project combines all three and everyone is greatly enjoying seeing where the stones have turned up!”
- You can find out more about Pathways here