Latest Inclusion Works Gets Crafty with Crochet Cedar’s Southern ‘Inclusion Works’ brain injury staff have had to get creative in more ways than one in terms of service delivery during the lockdown, to support service users to engage in activities they could enjoy from the comfort of their own home. The staff and service users feel that learning a new skill like crochet can help support recovery from Brain Injury by supporting concentration, developing the ability to stay on task and maintain focus. Susie Blake takes part in the online Crochet sessions and has said “Being on the Cedar Inclusion Works programme has helped to hasten my recovery, improve my social skills and participate more fully in my community”.She went on to say “Taking part in the Crochet group has also helped me build on my crochet skills, having learnt the basics from my grandmother over 50 years ago! It’s increased my confidence and supported me in attempting bigger more complex designs”. Fiona Campbell of Flo’s Crafty Crochet agreed “Crochet has also been proven to help fight insomnia through the calming motions (when it is going right). It reduces stress and anxiety levels providing time to take your mind off whatever is going on out in the real world. It can also relieve depression and instil a great sense of achievement which in turn boosts self-esteem. Trying something new and the mathematical structure of crochet can also help cognitive function”. She further commented “Alongside learning the skill of crochet our team of ladies also had to get to grips with the use of technology which allowed them to engage in online classes. Cedar supported the ladies getting set up for online learning through step by step instruction and also by providing tripods and headphones which would leave their hands free and minimise any distractions”. Sinead and Helena from the Cedar Foundation enquired about the possibility of running beginner crochet course for some of Cedar’s service users. Fiona tentatively agreed to give it a shot and she said “It was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I’ve seen the ladies become so much more confident over the weeks as they enjoy the crochet and craic, they are also keen to accept any new challenge that I set for them which is fantastic!”. Another service user, Binky Paxton, said “I have only started my crochet class in the last few weeks and Fiona is a great teacher. I am getting on really well with it. I crochet every night as I love it and find it very therapeutic. A massive thanks to Helena from Cedar for helping me get enrolled.” Sinead from the Cedar Inclusion Works Southern team commented “Having the ability to sample courses in the comfort of the service user’s own home is a fantastic resource to have. It solves the problem of bringing people from various localities to one place and trying to organise transport. It also takes away the fear of walking into a room full of strangers as people can be very nervous, especially with learning a new skill. We are so grateful to Fiona for providing so much support and encouragement and we are so very proud of the participants and how far they have come in such a short period of time.” For more information on this service please contact Sinead Drummond Service Manager, Inclusion Works (Brain Injury), Southern area 07791332151 This project is part funded through the Northern Ireland European Social Fund Programme 2014 – 2020 and the Department for the Economy. Funding is also provided by the Department for Communities and all five local HSCTs in Northern Ireland.