Creative Group Activities: Card Making with Supported Housing Residents

After the Christmas break, it was time to re-start the craft classes at the supported housing scheme for homeless people, giving them some creative respite while they seek permanent accommodation. However, things had changed greatly from our pre-Christmas classes!

card making group activities in a homeless hostel


After our first classes at the hostel, I'd mentioned that we were only able to use 'cheap' seasonal supplies you'd find in a pound shop, in addition to our own economical printables.

Since then, because of a simple post on Facebook about how we hoped to help more community groups in 2017, people have offered to help by sending us their unwanted craft supplies.

When I was asked by the Volunteer Coordinator if she needed to buy anything or do anything the answer was a happy "Nope!"

As this was our first class after the break, and due to all the donations, we decided to make Thank You cards using up 'bits and bobs' that we were given e.g. an unsorted box of various printables, papers, card, offcuts and decoupage sheets (from one of our designers - Suz Brill of ArdaCards - who kicked off the whole donations thing!), sticky tape, confetti, die cuts of various types, a Cuttlebug with embossing folders and a large, handy paper trimmer!

Because this box hadn't been sorted, the contents were spread out along the table to see what was in it and use whatever we came across - the table here looks fairly nice and orderly...you should've seen it when we'd finished!

craft activities with a group of supported housing residents using donated craft supplies


Discovering Decoupage and Embossing

One of the immediate successes was the Cuttlebug - embossing into cardstock for an extra touch. One class member decided to use the reverse 'debossed' side instead which was equally good. He wanted to make a birthday card for a fellow resident and to my surprise, relished the idea of decoupage - diving into the shiny, foiled Dufex step-by-step decoupage sheets full of roses. He patiently cut out all the layers and was very pleased with the end result - I've seen him dive in to make cards many times and he really focuses and takes care in what he's doing every time. He's a pleasure to have in class.

It took the whole session, and no Thank You card for our Donors but it didn't matter, having seen the care and effort he put into making a birthday card for a fellow resident.

beginner handmade card from donated craft supplies


beginner's handmade card using embossing and decoupage during group activities with donated supplies


embossed handmade card insert with a cheeky message during supported housing group activities


Inspired to Try Pyramage

While the decoupage card took all session, another resident was churning out his cards - making 4 and even having a go at Pyramage on the blue dotty card, inspired by the other chap doing Decoupage. Both techniques involve building up a 3D picture but Decoupage does it with different parts of an image that would be naturally 3D and 'Pyramid Decoupage' aka 'Pyramage' does it by layering up smaller and smaller pieces of an image. I loved how one chap tried something new and it inspired the other to also try something new.

We actually got a Thank You card here too, which looked great in 'real life' because the hearts and large square were a combination of glittery, foiled and embossed hearts. Really nice! The photo here doesn't do them justice. The final two cards were masculine ones made with gold peel off stickers, and I thought the musical one was particularly well put together.

trying out pyramage and card making in supported housing group activities


Printable Teabag Gift Box

Some of the box contents were printables and one eagle-eyed resident spotted an intriguing looking sheet, asked what it was and then was keen to do it for the same lady who was having a birthday. He wanted to make a Teabag Gift Box and he did a really good job! We don't have any pictures of this for our website so I asked if it was OK to use the one he'd just made and luckily he agreed. A few teabags from the staff kitchen and a Quick and Easy die-cut card that I didn't get a picture of, and here's another lovely little gift for a fellow resident.

teabag gift box made during group activities in a homeless hostel


Thank You to our Donors

Finally, we had a card as a Thank You to all our donors from the Volunteer Coordinator at the scheme, whose idea it was to give their residents some creative time instead of sitting in their flats on an evening.

handmade Thank You card for our donors who sent unwanted craft supplies to be used by the homeless hostel


handmade thank you card for our donors who sent craft supplies to use in group activities for homeless young men


With 'bits and pieces' that people no longer wanted, we were able to have a pleasant few hours creative time in a small social setting, no pressure, a bit of chat and a laugh, learning something new and being proud of what was achieved. That's what it's about: relaxed and low-key.


Crafting4Good CIC is a not-for-profit Community Interest Company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales Company No.10690435. Registered office: 9 George Street, Normanton, WF6 2LT