Ian’s Bloomin’ Lovely Evening

At Exemplar we recently asked our followers to vote for Ian – a resident at Parkside whose watercolour painting was submitted into Sandwell’s community art project, Bloomin’ Lovely. Well, the votes were counted and the awards handed out to the six finalists…

Entering the gallery, it was clear Ian has made quite an impression within his local community, most people knew who he was and congratulated him on coming this far. The evening continued with a drinks reception and music from tribute act Tom Hayes. Ian had a long conversation with local Mayor, Ahmadul Haque and Sergeant in Arms, George Murray. Mr Haque commented on the ‘truly amazing’ entries submitted and enjoyed a buffet with Ian and his party.Arriving promptly at Wensbury Museum and Art Gallery for 6pm, Ian was dressed in his best suit, accompanied by activities co-ordinator Suzanne and support worker Tom. Ian created a beautiful watercolour painting of his take on Sandwell, and was chosen as one of five other pieces of art for the local art competition. Museum co-ordinator Adam escorted Ian and his party into the gallery, but first asked one very important question of Ian – could his painting continue to hang in the gallery for another 12 months? Ever the modest man, Ian’s reply was simple – “If you want – there seems to be some fuss about it, so why not. But I’d like Suzanne to have it next, I promised her she can hang it on her wall at home because I wouldn’t have done it without her.”

Presenting the awards, the Lord Mayor had a few words to say “I knew I always wanted to do more than be a factory worker, I wanted to do more within Sandwell. It just goes to show, when you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything – and that is why we are here tonight. These fine people have submitted artworks into the Bloomin’ Lovely competition, and here we are – it is a wonderful thing to have within the community.”Ian, a recovering alcoholic, has been with Parkside for almost three years. Opening up about his life at Parkside, Ian explained how life after a stroke and alcohol abuse,  is happy – “I’ve more money, better health, feel comfortable and am working on my confidence. I didn’t want to attend meetings, I just wanted to get on with my recovery myself, which I have done and think I’ve done well.”

To round off the evening, a rendition of Frank Sinatra’s My Way was performed especially for Ian. He really did do it, his way.Ian was presented with his award – an award for second place! Having only narrowly missed out on first place, Ian couldn’t be happier and Exemplar couldn’t be prouder – our first artist has done us all exceptionally proud. Ian was typically modest and simply said “All this fuss for my painting – mind you, it’s been nice and the other artwork was lovely.”

Exemplar’s Parkside home supports each and every service user to regain their confidence within themselves, and within the community. Supporting service users with a variety of complex behavioural needs, the team enable service users to engage with one another and the community at every opportunity. Being involved in a range of social activities both inside and outside the home, service users can enjoy a more independent and better quality life which makes a direct and significant contribution to achieving personal and health outcomes and in many cases to a successful recovery.

At Exemplar, individuals are at the centre of their own care and help shape their treatment and their lives. Our mission is to make every day better for everyone we care for and work with.