Talented Haywards Heath artist adds a splash of colour to people’s lives

A 17-year-old sixth-former from Haywards Heath has been sharing her artistic talents with residents of a supported living scheme for older people who are more than 100 miles away.

Thursday, 17th June 2021, 12:38 pm

Charlotte Froud, a student at Ardingly College, has started an online art class for residents at The Old Bake House in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, which is managed by charity The Abbeyfield Society.

She has done this alongside raising more than £1,500 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation and setting up her own charity art project during the first lockdown.

They have explored some basic sketching techniques, and will work their way up to other forms of art.

Charlotte Froud SUS-210906-175908001

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. 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.

“I chose The Old Bake House because I’ve heard great things about Abbeyfield from friends and family. It’s clear, from speaking to the residents, the lengths to which their amazing frontline staff have gone to support them over the past year, and it is really inspiring to see how they have kept their spirits up.

“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 says that she has always been passionate about art.

She said: “It’s something I’ve practiced from an early age. I love the sense of community that art brings, when you’re creating something with other people. You can comment on each other’s work and see how it can conjure up different emotions. Art can mean so many different things to different people. It has been fascinating to see how our sessions have brought back so many memories for the residents.”

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

One of the residents who has attended Charlotte’s classes said: “I’m really enjoying the classes.

“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.”

The online classes’ video-calls as a means of education and communication has not been without its challenges, with Charlotte saying how some paintings of a vase of daffodils were painted along with her and the room behind her. For Charlotte, nature and animals have featured heavily in her artwork, and she has recently created the online Silver Lining Gallery to raise money for Make-A-Wish UK by selling her creations.

All money raised by her fine art cards, prints and commissions goes directly to the charity. Charlotte said: “Due to the pandemic, more than 2,000 wishes have been cancelled or postponed in the UK. I’m hoping that the money I raise can help those children to receive the experience of a lifetime, after what must have been an especially difficult year.”

To see her work, commission a drawing or painting, or to donate by purchasing cards or prints, visit her website at www.silverlininggallery.org