Double Win For Community Art Group

We were pleased to see we’ve hit the headlines again, on page 11 of The Plymouth Chronicle. You can read the latest issue online.

Double Win for Community Art Group

Plymouth’s first and only Mindful Art Club are celebrating receiving £250 funding, and £3000 worth of business support. The £250 was awarded to them by Plymouth Octopus Project, to cover some of their volunteer expenses, and the year-long business support package has been offered to them by The Real Ideas Organisation.

Peggy Melmoth and Emma Sprawson had only been running community art groups for a few months when the coronavirus lockdown forced them to cancel all of their groups. They immediately began offering online versions of all their sessions using Zoom video conferencing software and broadcasting to Facebook Live. Before lockdown their groups had been part-funded by individual voluntary donations, but since the end of March 2020 Peggy and Emma have been running the groups purely as a volunteers.

When lockdown restrictions began to ease in July, they started running small outdoor mindful art groups in a park in Plympton, and then in August they launched a new weekly group at The Sunflower Women’s Centre in Plymouth. They now run four weekly groups around Plympton and Plymouth, and continue to run their free online group for those who can’t make it to a real-life session.

“We started Mindful Art Club to improve mental health and social connection in the Plymouth community by offering mutual aid support groups, and teaching mindfulness and art for self-care. We were literally trying to fight social isolation at a time when we were all advised to isolate ourselves!”

Peggy

“We used to be part of the support team at Broadreach House addiction treatment centre. When Broadreach closed last year we were both made redundant, but decided that we still wanted to use our skills to support people in the community.”

Emma

In October The Real Ideas Organisation offered a number of free membership packages worth over £3,000 each, to entrepreneurial people with ideas that they thought could become brilliant businesses. To apply for a fully funded Start Something membership Peggy and Emma submitted a written business proposal and a three minute video outlining their ideas.

Peggy said, “We are so excited to win this, and are really looking forward to networking with the other businesses that won a place.”

The fully funded membership package from Real Ideas gives Mindful Art Club access to workspace at Ocean Studios in Royal William Yard, business support mentors and access to events, workshops and one to one coaching. The Start Something project is part of the iMayflower project and has been supported by The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, who fund the Cultural Development Fund, which is administered by Arts Council England.

Emma said, “Just after winning the Start Something membership we also received £250 funding from Plymouth Octopus Project (POP), which covers some of our expenses volunteering at The Sunflower Women’s Centre.”

POP offers funding advice, business and planning support to Plymouth’s voluntary sector.

The Sunflower Women’s Centre is a women’s only outreach centre set up by Trevi House in 2016. Sunflower is a trauma-informed women’s wellbeing hub, providing opportunities for any woman who has support needs.

“We have been very happy to have had Peggy and Emma come into the Sunflower Women’s Centre  and give their time volunteering to run their wonderful Mindful Art group for our women.  This has been a valuable service and given many of our women support and some purpose and stability, with their patience and gentle listening ears during the lockdown period.”

Paula Carnell, Team Lead

To keep updated about Mindful Art Club’s latest weekly groups, online sessions and wellbeing courses sign up to the mailing list in the top right corner. We’ll send you some mindful colouring pages to soothe your mind while at home!

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.


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).

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