A PR officer from Comic Relief and Groundwork recently got in touch to ask us about the impact their funding had on our group at The Sunflower Women’s Centre.
What issue does the project aim to change/address?
We tackle social isolation and common mental health problems
such as anxiety and depression.
How does the project addresses this issue?
We offer mindful art groups in community venues, often at no
cost to the individual client.
Each group lasts for an hour and a half. We start with
a “check-in” where everyone gets a chance to say how they are feeling, but
there is no obligation to talk if you don’t want to. Then we do five minutes of
guided mindfulness. Then we do five minutes of mindful drawing, (which is
drawing with our eyes closed!) Then we do a simple art project that anyone can
do, and have a chat. At most groups there is an opportunity to get a tea or
coffee. Art projects might include making a greeting card, drawing a mandala,
mindful doodling (zentangles), or making a collage. Artistic talent is not
necessary – it’s about having fun.
What activities or events do you carry out as part of the
At the moment we have five weekly groups, three are funded,
two we run on a volunteer basis while we seek funding. We also host one day
mindful art retreats, and sometimes run an eight week wellbeing course.
Sometimes we offer online wellbeing sessions using Zoom.
The Comic Relief Community fund allowed us to deliver 12
weekly mindful art groups at The Sunflower Women’s Centre. The issues being
tackled were social isolation and poor mental health. We addressed these
problems by using creative activities to make it easier for clients to engage
in meaningful conversations.
What impact has the project had on the community? Please
provide specific examples or testimonials where possible.
We regularly receive great verbal feedback and written
feedback that shows we are reducing social isolation and helping to improve
mental health. (Lots of quotes here.)
“I have found this group very helpful in my
recovery. My biggest problem is isolation. So to have this group is
a lifeline. I also struggle with substance misuse, although, (thanks to
help), I am clean and sober. It is nice to have a space that is non-judgmental
where we can check in and connect. I love art anyway, and find it very relaxing
and engaging. But it’s so much more therapeutic to do it with others. Many
thanks.” – Anna
“Thank you Peggy and Emma for running the mindfulness art
group, it has helped me so much and I’ve enjoyed each session. I struggle with
anxiety and depression and I’ll miss our groups at Sunflower as it’s helped a
lot and has been a great group to be in. Sending much love and hugs to you
both. You’re both lovely ladies”. – Vikki
What difference has Comic Relief funding made to the
This funding allowed us to run 12 weeks of in-person support
groups at the Sunflower Women’s Centre, when lockdown restrictions began to
ease in April 2021.
The Sunflower is a trauma-informed women’s wellbeing hub,
providing opportunities for any woman who has support needs. Women
receive support in addressing and resolving substance abuse, childhood trauma,
criminogenic behaviours, domestic violence or poor mental health. The centre
offers a range of therapeutic activities, accredited programmes and practical
support in a safe, nurturing, substance-free and valuing space for women to
move from their pasts, develop their skills, regain their self-worth and go on
to flourish and thrive. The Sunflower Centre has over 500 registered service
What is next for your organisation?
We are currently applying for funding to fund further
sessions at The Sunflower Women’s Centre and a follow-on group at Royal William
Yard. We have just started a 12 week project offering mindful art groups at a
local homelessness charity. We are also running a six week ‘Doodle Your
Recovery’ course for Devon Recovery Learning Community.
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