Community Sparks Funds Mindful Art Club

It was great to see ourselves in The Stronger North Stonehouse Journal this month after winning a grant from their Community Sparks Fund to run mindful art groups in Stonehouse, Plymouth.

Stronger North Stonehouse is an initiative bringing local people together to create a stronger, safer and friendlier community in North Stonehouse, Plymouth. The Community Sparks Fund has just funded over 20 projects!

The scheme received 30 funding applications ranging from £150 to the maximum of £3,000.

All applications were assessed by a panel made up of members of the Safer Stonehouse Board and independent judges. The panel was asked to make recommendations based on the merit of the potential impact they could have in the community.

We have been awarded £1000 to deliver two different, weekly art groups in the Stonehouse area. One will be at The Clipper, Omnium Radio’s Community Hub, in Union Street. The other will be at Ocean Studios. Located in the historic surroundings of Royal William Yard, Ocean Studios is home to an array of resident and visiting artists who regularly host workshops, exhibitions and events for Plymouth’s creative community. We are able to work at Ocean Studios thanks to winning a place on the Start Something project, run by the Real Ideas Organisation.

The grant will help us to buy art materials, and market the project so that we can reach as many Stonehouse residents as possible. The funding will also allow us to cover our ongoing costs such as administration, staff time, project planning, insurance, and project impact evaluation.

These Stonehouse venues are large enough to allow socially distanced support groups to take place. Although the UK is currently experiencing a mental health crisis, exacerbated by the pandemic, personal finances can be a barrier to local people needing to access support. This grant will help us to offer our services to people struggling with poor mental health, social isolation, poverty or addiction.

If you would like a place in one of these Stonehouse groups, which will be up and running after the current lockdown restrictions end, please contact us now. Places are limited.

Comic Relief to Fund Womens Group

We are pleased to have been granted new funding to offer mindful art sessions to any Plymouth women in need of support.

The Comic Relief Community Fund offer help for projects that are in line with their theme of Mental Health Matters. These are projects that support good mental health in communities, improve access to support and tackle stigma and discrimination.

This funding will allow us to deliver 12 weekly mindful art groups at The Sunflower Women’s Centre. The issues being tackled are social isolation and poor mental health. We address these problems by using creative activities to make it easier for clients to engage in meaningful conversations.

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 users.

Mindful Art Club will offer these women peer support for common mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. New friendships are formed in our groups which combat social isolation, and we will also teach new skills such as how to use mindfulness and art for self care.

We would not have received this funding without the generous help and support of the staff at The Sunflower Women’s Centre, and the funding advisors at POP. POP ideas is a service delivered by POP+ and Iridescent Ideas CIC that provides advice for small, large, new or established voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations in Plymouth. 

Page 10, Plymouth Chronicle January 2021

If you’d like a place on one of these groups after the current lockdown ends, you will need to register with The Sunflower Women’s Centre and ask to be added to the waiting list for Mindful Art Club. Their staff is limited during lockdown, but you can leave a message at 01752 977614 . Groups at The Sunflower Centre are small, socially distanced, and organised with a number of Covid-19 safety measures in place. These sessions are permitted by current law, as support groups.

Here’s what some of our previous clients at The Sunflower Centre have said about us:

“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 (Shared with permission).

We Won a Year’s Business Support From RIO!

We also want to share some other great news that we got onto the Start Something project with the Real Ideas Organisation. We are now linked in with Ocean Studios at the Royal William Yard, which is a beautiful space to hold Mindful Art Club sessions.

RIO were offering 10 free membership packages worth over £3,000 each to entrepreneurial people with ideas that they thought could become brilliant businesses.

The fully funded membership package from Real Ideas gives us access to their co-working spaces, specialist facilities, expert business support mentors and access to events, workshops and one to one coaching. 

So, we will be getting some expert business advice, as well as being part of a creative community. It was lovely meeting other creative people at the team event last week and I’m looking forward to developing these relationships.

Good News: Funding!

Some exciting news for Mindful Art Club this week. We have received £250 from Plymouth Octopus Project to help us run our weekly sessions at The Sunflower Women’s Centre, in Plymouth. POP offers support and advice to to the voluntary sector in Plymouth, and have already helped us so much this year with advice on writing our funding bids.

Thanks for your letters of support to enable us to get this funding.


How Art Can Help You Cope

Even a small amount of creativity can help you to cope with modern life, according to recent research by BBC Arts and UCL. In the largest study of its kind, with almost 50,000 people taking part, the research explored for the first time how creative activities can help us manage our mood and boost wellbeing. (Creativity Can Help You Cope – BBC, accessed 10/08/20)

The Evidence

A Health Evidence Network (HEN) synthesis report on arts and health references over 900 publications, including 200 reviews, covering over 3000 further studies.

Arts interventions, such as singing in a choir to improve chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, are considered non-invasive, low-risk treatment options and are increasingly being used by Member States to supplement more traditional biomedical treatments.

The Health Evidence Network synthesis report

What is the evidence on the role of the arts in improving health and well-being?

In July 2017 the All Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing published a report of their two-year inquiry into the role of the arts in health and wellbeing.

It found that the arts can keep us well, help us recover, and help to meet some of the major challenges currently facing health and social care. Therefore the arts can help to save money in the health service and social care services. You can read the short report here:

Creative Health: The Arts for Health and Wellbeing

But How Do We Know That Mindful Art Club Works?

People who come to Mindful Art Club feel more supported, experience empathy, feel mentally calmer and more peaceful; they make new social connections and feel happier and more confident. They also learn to use mindfulness as a self-help tool, and learn to use art as a self-care activity.

We know these things because we get verbal feedback during the “check out” at the end of each session, and occasionally we ask our clients to complete written feedback forms. These simple questionnaires measure the client’s perception of their difficulties, including mental health, physical health, loneliness, self-esteem, and experience of art and mindfulness. We also gather some qualitative evidence, in the form of individual case studies.

Find out more by coming to an online group, or a community group in Plymouth. The online groups are free.

Science: Does Mindfulness Work?

I have just completed my studies at Level 3 in counselling. During the course we had to write an assignment about an area of research that interested us. I thought I would share an excerpt here.

Peggy

Explain why research findings are important in counselling work

At the moment, I am particularly interested in looking at research into the use of mindfulness in counselling. Mindfulness is the practice of focusing on the present moment, without judgement. During my level three counselling training we often began the day’s learning with a group mindfulness session. With my business partner, Emma, I run a community support group called Mindful Art Club, which offers a “check in”, some guided mindfulness, and mindful drawing practice. We then encourage the group to do a simple art project that requires no talent or experience. Members chat informally about their current thoughts and feelings. We then end the group with a “check out”.

When we seek charitable funding to run these groups we have offered both quantitative and qualitative research findings to the funders. We have surveyed our membership, using two client evaluation tools; the PHQ-9 Depression and GAD-7 Anxiety questionnaires. We have also done a few in-depth case studies of individuals, during which the clients described their experiences in their own written words. However, this is a very small data sample; so scientific research papers, with a large data sample size, demonstrating the efficacy of mindfulness would also be helpful to us. A search on the BACP website offers over 300 articles related to mindfulness. I found an interesting article that says mindfulness can be helpful regardless of a client’s presenting problem. (Kamila Hortynska 2014). To back up her article she references 20 different sources including books, websites, professional journals, research papers and NICE guidelines.

Using this as a starting point for my investigation, I can see that there is an abundance of research available related to mindfulness in counselling. From Hortynska’s article we can learn that research has resulted in mindfulness being approved by NICE, and is now used in schools, for corporate employees, for the treatment of depression, was offered as taster sessions in parliament, and is now offered in some statutory services, thanks to a research project at the Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice at Bangor University. (Bangor University 2014). Their website refers to research papers describing a randomized control trial of stress reduction in the workplace, and the initial results from a study of the effects of meditation on multitasking performance. Research papers like these would help us to explain to a corporation the potential value of commissioning a mindfulness course for stress reduction in their workplace.

Research findings provide useful and valuable evidence of the efficiency of various new and existing counselling theories and methods, which can benefit and inform counsellors, clients, funders, companies, agencies, charities, health services, policy makers and government organisations.

References.

  1. Hortynska, Kamila (2014) Being With What Is, Private Practice, Winter 2014, (accessed 12/06/2020.) https://www.bacp.co.uk/bacp-journals/private-practice/winter-2014/being-with-what-is/
  2. Bangor University, Mindfulness in the Workplace. www.bangor.ac.uk/mindfulness/work.php.en (accessed 12/06/2020).

New Group: At Harbour Centre

Thanks to the #NationalLottery Community Fund we were able to launch a mindful art club at The Harbour Drug & Alcohol Treatment Service yesterday.

Peggy, Emma and Julie Howes, (Harbour).

We started with a “check in”, and ten minutes of guided mindfulness meditation. Then we helped ourselves to coffee and tea (included). For the rest of the session we did an easy art project and had a chat. All art materials were provided.  Read more: What Happens at The Club?

To see the kind of art work we create have a look at our Facebook page. The idea is to focus on having fun, rather than judging your artistic ability.

Create Your Recovery is for people in recovery from alcohol dependency or other substance misuse, and is offered at the reduced rate of £2.00 per session, thanks to our funding from The National Lottery.

This new class takes place on Fridays, 1.00pm – 2.30pm.

At: Harbour Drug & Alcohol Services, Hyde Park House, Mutley Plymouth, Devon, PL4 6LF

Cost: £2.00 per session.

Not ready to come to a class in person? That’s OK. Grab some free mindful colouring pages here.



Art Club Wins #NationalLottery Funding

We are  pleased to announce we have won some #NationalLottery funding to deliver mindful art classes to those in recovery from addiction. This will allow us to offer weekly classes at the reduced rate of £2.00 per session at The Harbour Centre, starting 14th February2020.

Harbour are keen to invite people working a 12 step program to these sessions, to encourage their service users to try fellowship meetings.

Fridays

Harbour Drug & Alcohol Services, Hyde Park House, Mutley Plymouth, Devon, PL4 6LF

Create Your Recovery – This session is for people in recovery from substance dependency, offered at the reduced rate of £2.00 per session.

Fridays, 1.00pm – 2.30pm Starting Friday 14th February 2020