This is a question a lot of people back home ask me when I tell them about the work I do at Spare Tyre. In this placement, I get what I like to call: the full Spare Tyre experience. I work a day in the office, assist in an outreach group in Hounslow and work with one of the Company of Artists groups.

As you might have read on this site, Spare Tyre tries to bring voices to voiceless communities. But Spare Tyre does so much more than just that. One of the most important things Spare Tyre has to offer is creativity.

In the outreach group, I work with adults with a learning disability. Spare Tyre helps them express themselves. Not just verbally but also creatively. I can see freedom in their eyes when they are asked to express themselves in any way they want to. And the results are remarkable. After the session the participants are more flexible, more communicative and overall more active.

The Company of Artists group is a whole different group. The group consists of people over 60. The difficulties and worries they struggle with are hard for me to fully understand, being a 23-year-old student from the Netherlands. But what I do see is a group that helps and supports each other.

There is this notion that elderly people can’t do things anymore. Or that they are fragile and need protecting from the big bad world. That is complete rubbish. These people have been living in this big bad world for over 60 years. Some of them have three times the life experience I have. This is a proud, strong and creative group.

People sometimes think that creative people have to be these young urban professionals. With their Starbucks coffee and hip clothing. Old people and people with a disability can’t possibly be creative. But these people have a voice, a creative voice. And the world should listen to that voice more often.