Cafe Art has managed to connect with two groups since the UK went into lockdown in March.
Julian Rouse from The Royal Photographic Society (The RPS) has run a weekly photography contest for the photography mentoring group that used to meet at the Qbic Hotel in east London.
The weekly projects have different themes each week and have now extended into photography training and quizzes. With people in the group affected in different ways, the themes are always possible to do in the home - but fortunately most of the group can get out at least once a day.
The second support group is run by Geraldine Crimmins who is currently self-isolating. She ran an art mentoring programme for two years for people affected by homelessness. Geraldine, herself a former homeless woman, has successfully transitioned the mentoring to online and telephone support.
Most of the group she manages have been displaced in a major way because of the COVID-19 crisis and Geraldine has been able to successfully counsel them one-on-one to connect them with support from government or homelessness-sector charities, and to give them regular personal support through the art programme.
The art mentoring is a way to get through to many hard to reach people and we are doing it with a person who has experienced homelessness and is an experienced counsellor.