Spring 2024 at ACC


This month, we have a bumper edition of our Arts And Crafts Centre blog for you.

We look back on a wonderful trip some of our fantastic artmakers had to the Baltic Contemporary Arts Centre, and talk about how our woodland area is blooming.

March was also a time for celebrating: we look back on how the ACC celebrated both World Book Day and Mother’s Day.

Finally, meet the lovely Ellen, one of our artmakers.

Trip to Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art

In February, eight of our wonderful artmakers ventured further north to The Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead.

The Baltic was hosting an eight-month residential and exhibition by Project Art Works, a Turner Prize nominated arts collective and Arts Council National Portfolio Organisation from Hastings that works with people with complex needs, families and circles of support.

The artmakers had a brilliant day looking at the exhibition and using the work to inspire a collective painting.

They also worked independently, drawing and painting on paper, canvases, and walls!

A massive thanks to Martin Swan and his team Georgia, Ollie and Mya. It was a hugely memorable and exciting day for all involved.

Take a look at what the artmakers got up to in our YouTube video, linked below.

Our woodland area is blooming!

After a few warmer weeks in Knaresborough, we are starting to see some shoots come up in our woodland area. Our woodland warriors have been working hard at identifying plants, and learning some facts about everything we find.

For example, we can see some of our beautiful daffodils starting to bloom.

Did you know: Narcissus is the botanical name, while daffodil is how it’s commonly known? It is named after Narcissus, a character from Greek mythology who fell in love with his own reflection.

We also have lots of wild garlic in the woodlands, and you can really notice the scent!

Did you know wild garlic is incredibly nutritious: it contains vitamin A, C, calcium, iron, phosphorus, sodium, and copper. The amount of vitamin C is 20 times the amount of vitamin C in lemons! Wild garlic lowers blood pressure, and has antibacterial and antibiotic properties.

Celebrating World Book Day

On Wednesday 6th March, our next steppers had a day packed with activities to celebrate World Book Day.

Everybody made such a big effort dressing up as their favourite characters, from Peter Pan and Wendy to Captain Hook and the Hungry Caterpillar, we had them all. A special mention goes out to Kay for coming as the gangster granny.

We started out by reading Handa’s surprise, a story of Handa, who is  part of the Luo tribe in South-west Kenya. The book had been described as a modern classic named one of the best culturally diverse picture books in the UK. We also read The Tiger Who Came To Tea complete with props.

Everyone then enjoyed a game of book bingo, and a book themed treasure hunt.

Beth had saved the best task until the afternoon: making chocolate biscuits! Inspired by Roald Dahl’s very famous Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, each Next Steps student got to decorate and name their very own biscuit. We think the best name goes to Cam with his ‘Super Dooper Trooper Chocolate Biscuit’.

It was the best day, I think Kay looked very funny!

Roisin, artmaker

Mother’s Day Afternoon Tea

On 10th March, Mother’s Day, we opened our doors for a delicious Mother’s Day afternoon tea.

We don’t like to boast TOO much but we are pretty good at putting on afternoon teas, with a selection of sandwiches, homemade scones, flapjack, carrot cake, brownies, ginger cake, sausage rolls and cheese pastries! What’s not to love.

Not only did we have friends and family of Henshaws but we also welcomed a few new friendly faces. Mothers, grandmothers, sisters, aunties and ‘yorkshire parents’ joined us, with everyone saying they can’t wait for the next one.

We would like to thank everyone who came and celebrated with us!

Artmaker Spotlight


Ellen has a learning disability.

She joined the Arts and Crafts Centre about six months ago. She comes every Thursday morning.

Since joining, Ellen has made a real impact on the centre.

She attends our new sensory arts workshop, lead by one of our amazing workshop leaders, Kate.

Ellen is an excellent helper, anything I need help with she’s always willing to help.

She’s also very kind to the other artmakers. She always makes sure everybody is happy and has everything they need.

Kate, Sensory Arts workshop leader

 I find it difficult to read and write, I can’t really read or write.

I also have problems with loud spaces. Speaking is okay, I think sometimes people can’t understand me. Like now speaking with you I can understand you, but you might be able to understand me.

I have support on a morning. They help me brush my teeth and brush my hair but I make my own breakfast; I had scrambled eggs on toast today. I do my own cleaning, I hoover the house, I load the dishwasher.

On a nighttime I have help cooking dinner and putting washing on.

I also go to gateway [a charity providing social activities for adults with learning difficulties] on a Monday night.

I started coming to Henshaws and I like meeting new people, new friends. I have learned some art skills.

My favourite thing to do here is making artwork.

Henshaws is amazing.

Henshaws graphic with pink and purple shapes

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